[The following post is one of several under the heading of “A New Normal” addressing our response to the Coronavirus outbreak. They are written to the family at Bishop Creek Community Church. I was asked to make them available as an encouragement to all.]
David writes in Psalm 23:4, “Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil.…”
David was well acquainted with fear… both kinds… fear of the known, and fear of the unknown. The known kind, like when he faced Goliath. Saul informed David that the Giant had been a fighter from his youth. So, the known kind…and, the unknown kind, like when David had to choose a punishment for numbering the people. Famine, defeat, or plague? How many would be killed? So, the unknown kind.
He had known the fear of being chased by his king. Yet, in the Psalm, he reminds himself that the option of fear is a part of life, a choice in life, and still, the Lord accompanies his every step. The imagery here is of a dark mountain gorge, so dark that it impedes logical placement of footsteps. Yet, the Shepherd needs to lead the sheep through these valleys. The walls of stone are thick, the curves are sharp. One navigates with hands as eyes.
The picture here is not one of death itself, but the reality of dark shade, gloom, a shadow of darkness. And yet, darkness is the same as light to the Lord. He sees through the mountains and the stone. He sees around corners. He is neither surprised or challenged by what lies ahead of us.
Our Covid-19 menace is one of our fears. Our known fears… it kills people. And, the unknown one… how many will it touch? And How long until we have something that kills it? When will we return to some semblance of normalcy? We walk in challenging times, but David knows that he does not face the situation alone, nor do we.
Some of us will make it through this present valley unscathed. Some of us may just well come out of the other end of this valley with Covid-19 having taken hold of us. Still, the Lord is with us. But, if we can trust God with our eternal soul, can we also trust Him with this temporal menace? You know we can.
“Though we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death… I will fear no evil” What a blessing to be rid of fear in life. And we can be… As we are isolated in our homes, as we pray for deliverance, as we see news reports of the damage, as we contemplate the outcome of all this, as we ponder the knowns and the unknowns, we fear no evil, because God is with us. “For You are with me.” To the Lord, say those words out loud… right now.
Look to your left, look to your right, in front, and to the rear, God is there.
We do not walk this journey alone.