The last three years have been a struggle for me and my family. We sold our home in Seattle and moved back home to Montana. We had big plans to buy a house near the mountains, to put our kids in a smaller school and to live closer to family.
Three years later and we’ve decided to build. The home prices in Montana are comparable to Seattle prices for the home we wanted. Now we are working our way through regulatory requirements and trying to win over a bank for the project. Our credit is good but these days the banks want perfect financial projects. We continue to pray and trust the Lord as we go through this adversity.
Recently a friend began sharing his last days with his dad on Facebook. He was hurting and asking for prayer. His dad went home to be with the Lord. But my friend and his family traveled through a deep, dark valley that lasted several weeks. I’ve been praying for them and asking God to give me words that would comfort them. He is facing a life and death adversity. How can I compare my difficulties to his? I think the adversity he is going through is far greater than ours.
I woke up late one night and prayed for both situations. I saw these adversities in front of me and asked God, “Why?” Then I started reading through Psalm 23. This was my grandmother’s favorite Psalm so I’ve read it many times. God showed me something new that night.
Read the first three verses with me. Notice the pronoun “He”. This is a third person pronoun and doesn’t show familiarity. (I have no idea if this works out in Hebrew this way.)
1. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3. He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
In the first half of verse 4 David describes the valley of the shadow of death. Really, this describes any adversity that we walk through. But before David finishes this verse, he changes the way he refers to God. Notice that he uses the word “You”. In the old King James we see “Thou”.
4. Yea, 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.
5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
David is showing us that he went through adversity and his relationship with God changed. Before adversity he describes God as “He”. But after walking through adversity David directs his conversation directly to God using the word “You” or “Thou”.
This is beautiful. God draws near when we walk through adversity. He cares greatly. You can almost see David look up from his prayers and start talking to God directly. No formal scripts.
In times of adversity, God is near. We have an opportunity to grow our relationship with God. We have an opportunity to draw closer to our Shepard. He has promised to walk us through difficult times and prepare a place for us on the other side.