Last Sunday Psalm 23 reminded us of the Lord’s care and protection. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me,” the psalmist boldly proclaims (23:4). The psalmist does not deny that dark valleys are part of traversing life. The affirmation of faith is that we aren’t alone when we’re in them and, therefore, can resist the fears that seek to consume us.
I take the psalmist’s extreme position – I fear no evil – to be an indication of how we should engage with the less evil and even the good. If our confidence in God is such that we don’t have to fear evil, why, then, would we fear the ordinary, the benign, or the good? Perhaps Jesus had this psalmist’s confidence in his heart when he told the disciples on multiple occasions, “Do not fear” (Matthew 10:28, Mark 5:36, Luke 8:50, John 14:27). And, surely it was his relationship with Jesus that inspired John’s announcement that, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
When things change, there is a natural fear born of the unknown. When we haven’t walked a certain path we wonder where it will lead or what the terrain will be like. Will it go through a dark valley, perhaps the darkest? Who will be with us? Where will the path take us?
Our fears are met by a God who is always with us, giving us confidence as we face evil or anything short of that, even the good that is new to us. We are assured by God’s ever-present love.
God’s is a love known in many ways, including by our brothers and sisters who have been commanded to love us and who we are commanded to love (John 13:31-35). We are never on this journey alone and the path always, ultimately, leads to green pastures, still waters, and dwelling in the house of the Lord (Psalm 23:2, 6).
To help those outside our church know that they are not alone and need not fear, you can assist with a work team project in Kingstree or the BEDS distribution tomorrow. Also, our family looks forward to seeing you at the reception Sunday afternoon from 3-5 in Central’s Davis Center. Click on “Kingstree,” “BEDS,” or “reception” for more information.
See you Sunday.