Yea Tho I Walk Thru the Valley of the Shadow of Death……..

Have you ever been stressed, overwhelmed? Dumb question, right? We all have been whether we are willing to admit it or not. I have known people that have told me that they do not stress over anything because “God is in control”. While I believe the first part of that statement is true, I do not and cannot believe that some people do not stress or become overwhelmed with issues in life.

Frequently people share their struggles, their overwhelming situations with me, and my response is often the same: don’t borrow trouble, let’s take it one moment at a time, we learn more in the valley than on the mountaintop. All of that is true and I firmly believe each of those statements. And now it’s my turn.

God IS in control….IF we hand Him the stressors in our lives. Stressful situations with family, work, health, are a part of everyday living. How we handle those stressors is determined, in part, by our belief system and mindset.

The Bible never says that we won’t have struggles, trials and overwhelming stress in life. We live in an imperfect world with people who all have a free will, and are free to exercise that right, well, freely. Sometimes another’s free will invades my life and creates stress for me. The most difficult stress pill we are asked to swallow, in my opinion, is administered to us by a loved one.

I am in that situation at the moment, and quite frankly, I am struggling. I want to do what is right, I want the situation resolved now, I fear the loss of a close relationship, or any relationship with this loved one, my heart is heavy, and I am suffering. This situation is affecting my life – the whole of my life. Looking at the words I am writing at the moment I see keywords; I, struggle, now, fear, and heavy. None of those words are “Biblical”. As a believer I am to have faith and trust. Period.

The Bible says, “not my will, but yours be done”. (Luke 22:42 The Complete Jewish Bible) And there are plenty others in the same vain. God knows the whole picture; we only see a part of it. He sees the beginning, the middle, and the resolution; we see today, this moment.
Logically, it only makes sense that I would trust that God has any situation in any of our lives in His hand. For me, the more difficult the situation, the more at stake, the bigger the investment in the situation, or in my case, the relationship, the harder it is for me to trust and not feel stressed and overwhelmed. Maybe it’s the same for you.

Songs and books are written about letting go and letting God be in control, pastors preach on handling stress, trusting God, because it is unavoidable; there is no way around that mountain, we are forced to go thru whether we like it or not. Most of us familiar with scripture at all know Psalm 23; “yea tho I walk thru the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (King James Version) The word picture David creates for those times when circumstances surround and overwhelm us is accurate; it feels like walking through a dark, lonely valley with death lurking about waiting to overtake the ones passing to the other side. Fear whispers doom in our ear, the heart becomes heavy and every step is a struggle. We feel alone, afraid, there is no light breaking thru the darkness giving us hope.

Trusting God with the situations in our lives that stress and overwhelm us is not easy. Trust is intangible; we can’t see or feel it. Trust can be a roller coaster of sorts. At some times I am sure that God is working out all the details, I need only wait for the situation to resolve. At other times I find myself in the pit of despair, reminding myself to trust with every step I take, and not at all sure anything will be ok ever again. One would think that the next time we had to rely only on trusting God and not our own intelligence, resources or whatever, that the trusting would be easier. For me, at least, it isn’t.

I have prayed, cried, and prayed some more. I want to look up and see it written in the sky, “don’t be sad, I’ve got this, everything will be fine – Love God” but I doubt that will happen. For now my heart is heavy, and there are times I feel like it is being ripped out of my chest. For now I am left to pray, to trust, to continue my journey thru the valley, and know, that one day the light will appear on the horizon…..

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