“Even when I walk in the darkest canyon,
I do not fear disaster.
Because you are with me; your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.”
— PSALM 23:4
Canyons of pain and those of despair,
Taken with courage just enough to dare,
To acknowledge God’s present, yes even in this,
And somehow there’s the note of relative bliss.
God may not take the situation away,
But the blessing of comfort — somehow, each day,
God wills it that we take our trials to Him,
So He can encourage us when things are grim.
Psalm 23:4 does not just talk in the context of physical death, but in every form of death there is – the darkest canyons of life, including death.
We may ask ourselves why we fear death so much when there is still so much to fear about life. And without God we really can wonder how we can make it even one day. So we are thankful we have God. Because there is God we have comfort in pain and in despair.
Pain and despair are somewhat ‘givens’ in life – no matter who we are we will experience some of these. As people are blessed with measures of faith, hope and comfort, people are also tested by measures of fear, despair and pain.
The difference it makes to know there is the ‘because there is God’ clause in life is probably never more significant.
Many people will not want to admit that they deal with fear. But fear is everybody’s nemesis; a calamity of soul that overtakes us in anxieties overwhelming. And if it isn’t fear, it will be pain because of hurts unreconciled, or despairing because of hopes yet unrealised and fading.
These are all the dark canyons of life – and the king of these, grief.
God and Awareness
As we take God about with us on our daily meandering – as God is there anyway – we are aware as we meet these dark canyons of life.
We need God in these dark canyons, yet there is the stark irony that we often forget God is there in moments of dire need. So, awareness is the key. When we know God is there, we may still be fearful, but we do know an awareness of comfort.
The more aware we are of God’s Presence, the more we are able to respond in courage to dare beyond the fear by faith, to endure pain by comfort, and find hope in despair.
When we need God we tell ourselves he is there. He is. We abide to the truth. And he reveals himself to us.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.