By Alyssa Edward
I’ve often read the verse from Psalm 23, “He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul,” and in my head I pictured a peaceful stroll with God at my side in meadows with a little gurgling stream beside us. It’s a sunny day and the butterflies are flying among the flowers and the birds are singing in the trees. It sounds beautiful, and I don’t necessarily believe it’s a wrong picture, but I have also discovered that it’s maybe not the most complete picture. Soon after this verse in the Psalm we hit the “Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil” verse. That doesn’t sound so much like roses and rainbows to me at all. As I was thinking about all of this, God brought to mind the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites. In the wilderness, God led the Israelites by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. When the pillar moved, they moved and when it stopped, they stopped. God was the guide. He led them, and it wasn’t always by peaceful streams, it was often in harsh wilderness terrain. It wasn’t an easy trek, but God provided what they most needed in order to make it through. He provided them shade in the desert in the heat of day through His cloud, and light and warmth in the cloud desert nights through the pillar of fire. God was the loving and caring leader who watched over His people even as He allowed them to grow in strength and faith and trust.
What’s my point? Even in the darkest valley, we have a God on our side who will lovingly bring us through to the other side. Even when life is hard and you can’t seem to see the light, know that God is a God who cares. He wants you to be the best you, but He will love you through the process of refinement. He does it for your good, for your benefit, because He loves you. Allow Him to be your shade and your light, your very close provider and protector even in the darkest valley.