When Defenses Fail

Boyne-Castle2

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,

FOR YOU ARE WITH ME;

Your rod and your staff,

They comfort me”

                Psalm 23:4

I wrote earlier about the going beyond the valley.

How we must go through valleys, but they are not our final destination.

Today, I would like to write a bit of how we are changed in the valleys.

In this passage we are compared to sheep.

Sheep have no natural defenses.

They don’t have claws, they cannot run quickly, they have no defense mechanism.

The only thing they have is the presence of the shepherd.

When we go through valleys, we see how futile our self made defenses are.

Things or people that we put our hopes in fall short.

We become aware of our lack of control, our lack of influence on events.

Others may offer advice from behind their brittle borders, telling us to just do so and so….

Their faith is in the wrong things.

For nothing made of man can save.

In the middle of this Psalm, you see the entrance of the Savior.

He is on display when defenses have failed, when we are most aware of our need for Him.

We see this in the New Testament.

Immanuel, God with us.

The Good Shepherd coming to us.

Why? Because we are defenseless.

We forget this.

We pride ourselves on self-sustainability.

We run from brokenness.

We chase the illusion of normal.

All so that we may pretended and dwell in a land of comfort and vain imagination.

One where we have more control than we do.

One where we are the Savior and not the sheep.

Yet we are sheep.

And life will show you this.

In it’s frailty.

In it’s simplicity.

In it’s beauty.

In it’s pain.

In it’s need for something other than itself.

The valleys lead us to places of longing.

The valleys lead us to the presence of the shepherd.

His promise is that He is with us.

In the valleys do not offer people a new way to build old walls or defenses.

Look for the Good Shepherd.

Walk with them through it and seek out His presence.

For He is there.

In Cru, we raise our own support.

We say many times that it is seen in scripture, God always provides to where He calls us.

This truth is not just meant for the financial or provisional realm.

This truth is for life.

When God takes you where you didn’t plan/desire/wish to go.

He wouldn’t take you there and abandon you.

The Good Shepherd never loses a sheep.

He takes you there,

Past where your defenses fail,

To show us the reality of our need.

But more beautifully.

The fulfilled promise of His presence.

Beyond the Valley

Hikers_in_SInai_Desert_valley

“…even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” Psalm 23

 

In the Middle East, rains are rare, but when they come, many times, they are intense.
In their intensity they carve out channels in dessert, many times through mountain passes.
This makes them necessary to travel through in order to complete your journey and to arrive at your final destination.
The dangerous things about these is that they are deep, full of shadows.
The rains can even be taking place farther away but the water rushes in, causing many to lose their life or suffer injury.
The shepherds refer to these as “ the valleys of the shadow of death”.
To walk through these valleys is to battle fear.
If not from rains, then from robbers or beast lurking in the dark.
It is a place of anxiety.
Many times it is the anticipation of these valleys that robs the traveler from the joy of the journey.
They can mistake the valley for the final destination.
The journey does not end in the valley, but you must go through the valley to reach the destination.
The traveler that stays in a valley has lost sight of the destination and is being paralyzed by fear.
They have lost sight of the promise.
They have lost sight of the shepherd.
The good shepherd does not lose a single sheep.
The sheep will not be lost in the valley if they follow the shepherd.
The sheep are incapable of dealing with the anxiety and overcoming their fears.
The shepherd is capable.
The shepherd has never lost sight of the destination.
When the sheep are focused on the valid fear around them.
The shepherd is focused on the destination.
We will not dwell in the valley.
We will dwell in the house of the Lord.
The house of the shepherd.
Forever and ever, Amen.

May you listen to the shepherd and follow Him, instead of trying to overcome your fears and anxieties. It is not about what you can do, it is about what He has done and will do. Trust in Him. We all must go through valleys. Lets not compare ourselves to those that are not in them, for their journey will take them through one at some point. May we encourage them to follow, as we follow ourselves.

May God bless us and keep us
May He cause His face to shine upon us
and Give us peace

 

When the waters run swift

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..He leads me beside the still water, He calls my soul to return to Him (Psalm 23 ancient Syrian translation)

 

Sheep won’t drink from swift moving water.

They will run up to it excitedly, but as they get closer a fear grows and they won’t drink.

They will wait to drink until the water is safer.

A shepherd must not only lead the sheep to water,

but also must find water that is still.

They may find still pools made by rocks in the stream.

Yet, many times they will dig a canal off of the swift moving water to allow it to calm and pool for the sheep.

I long for God.

I run to Him and I am overwhelmed.

I read of and see his provision.

I witness the torrent of praise the resounds of His faithfulness.

Yet as I draw close to the water, I grow fearful.

I fear many things.

I fear being swept away.

I fear getting lost in the magnitude and enormity of what lays before me.

I fear the disorientation of the realization that the river is wilder than I thought.

To follow Christ is terrifyingly beautiful.

In my frailty as I approach it, my insecurities, my hindrances, cause my knees to buckle.

I am incapable of reaching that which I most long for

I know my thirst

I see the river wild

I feel the distance in between

In that space comes the doubt

“You really shouldn’t be here”

“You should be able to take care of yourself”

“If people see your knees buckle, they will think you are a lousy sheep”

I start to question how my thirst and this river work.

Then I see the Shepherd

He approaches the river

I am amazed at His confidence in the proximity of something so intimidating

He starts to dig

I don’t understand what He is doing

I see His toil, His labor, His effort

And I begin to realize it is for me.

To bring the satisfaction to my thirst to the very place where I am.

His intention

His devotion

His skill

All directed towards the satisfaction of what I long for most…

Living Water

I drink gratefully in the stillness

I feast on the abundance of His provision

Then He calls me to follow

And although I don’t know where I am going

I will follow this man

This Shepherd

I can trust this man

He knows His sheep

He knows me

The Journey Begins

Thank you for taking the time to visit my site.  I hope that in the journey ahead it will become a place of encouragement and a resource for you in your own personal journey. Please feel free to click on the topics tab above to see various entries on different topics. I hope to add more as time goes on. May God bless!

B