God Comes ThroughJon Burgess
He guides me along the right pathsfor his name’s sake. 4Even though I walkthrough the darkest valley,I will fear no evil,for you are with me;your rod and your staff,they comfort me. Psalm 23:3-4
23Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” Acts 27:23-26
God will not take me from it but He will take me through it! God will come through the trial with me every single time! God is shouting this message to me this morning in both the Shepherds Psalm and the Shipwreck story. We are told in Psalm 23 that we can trust the Shepherd to guide us to right paths. That sounds good. I like paths along quiet streams and green pastures. That sounds like a great way to travel. I'll follow that Shepherd anywhere as long as anywhere looks like that! The irony is that in the very next verse we are told the Shepherd is leading us throught the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Now the question is will I trust His leading as much in the darkness as I did in the light? Will I trust His care for me even when my mouth is parched and there are no streams to be found? Will I try to steer clear of any pain or sorrow or loss out of fear or will I trust that God will take me through? Will I treat my Shepherd with disdain and distance myself when He refuses to remove me from Valley? Paul didn't get angry at God for taking him into the storm but trusted that He would take him through! Paul was trusting His Shepherd even though shipwereck was in his future! He didn't argue with God but instead allowed for his leading. Why couldn't God simply calm the storm the way he had before? Why couldn't God split the seas the way He had before? Paul didn't fear evil because he was allowing the Shepherds rod and staff to comfort him and the rest of the ships crew all the way through. The sheep doesn't tell the Shepherd the path to take. The Shepherd tells the sheep where to go and then comes through it with us!
Life is filled with valleys and storms. Life is filled with death and shipwrecks. I am filled with faith when I focus on the Shepherd instead of my circumstances. God will come through it with me every time if I will trust His leading no matter what. Pastor Emmy Alvarez is teaching me how to do this. As cancer ravages her body she looks unswervingly at her Shepherd. I sat with her two weeks ago and was struck by the unshakable trust Emmy had in her Savior. She had asked me to come and play a new worship song I had written as she felt it was written for her. I had sent her a rough recording of the song the day she had been readmitted to the hospital. Now, here she was in hospice care at Pearl's house and yet she was the one ministering to me. She had a smile on her face though her body was wracked with pain. She was walking strong with her Savior though she could hardly walk at all. I was in the presence of a saint who was soaking in the presence of her Shepherd as He walked her through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. This shadow could not quench her light. She wasn't angry. She didn't blame God for this Cancer. We contended together in prayer that God would heal her completely either in the this life or in Heaven. We stood on the promise of Paul in the middle of the storm that we didn't have to be afraid because God comes through every time! Emmy faced her future with courage because she trusted the one who holds the future.
Lord, I won't stop praying for Emmy's healing! I wont stop trusting You even when you wont take me out of the trial but choose to take me through. I pray the words of this song over Emmy right now:
Go With You
Take me to that place Where I only see Your face And the shadows fade In the light of glorious grace
I want to go with You Jesus, Jesus
You will take me through The climb ahead is steep
My flesh it is so weak Yet You have led me here Casting out my every fear One step at a time
Your hand holding mine Wherever You go Lord I'm going too
I hear Your voice say this is the way I hear Your voice behind me say this is the way
I've never been here before But You've opened this door I'm going through I'm going with You