“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 NIV)
Deliverance from and deliverance through.
Isn’t this one of the great quandries in prayer? We want to be delivered from circumstances we dread. We long to be delivered from heart-breaking events. We want healing, and we know how we want it and when. There is nothing wrong with these desires. In fact, we are invited to pray to God about these. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God,” Paul writes. Every situation. Nothing is off the table when it comes to prayer and specifically, petition–asking.
God has all power to answer our prayers and to do so in miraculous ways. We can and should desire to grow in our effectiveness in this sort of prayer.
A reality of this world and of the Christian life, however, is that we are not always delivered from our situation or circumstances. God can. And yet God does not always. (Exploring this is important, but beyond our focus today.)
But this verse is helpful in that it assumes we will encounter dark valleys. It takes as a given that they are simply a part of life. They are not necessarily symbols of divine curse upon us nor of divine indifference to our prayers for deliverance and help. Rather, they are part of the terrain of life.
So David tells God plainly: “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
The Presence of God comforts David with the knowledge that he faces no dark valley alone. Regardless of circumstances, David knows God is with him. He will be delivered through it.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for trusting your Heavenly Father to deliver you through the cross and on to resurrection. Help me to pray honestly and earnestly, taking comfort in your promise to deliver me through my circumstances. Amen.