“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.”
I grew up in London, south to be specific. Concrete jungle where dreams are made of...(okay, I know that line is usually associated with New York but I think London merits association with that sentence too.) One thing that comes along with growing up in London is that you get used to not walking anywhere. And by anywhere I really do mean anywhere. The underground trains run every two minutes, buses every five minutes and you can have an Uber taxi at your door in minutes without even uttering a word. A ‘Short walk’ is considered between 3-5 minutes and a ‘long walk’ is between 20-25 minutes MAX. We rarely have to walk anywhere unless we want to. Those of you that know me will currently be chuckling at the hilarity of the content of this paragraph so far, because you will know that my fiancé loves to walk...for fun. (Shudders) where he is from, the train (single) comes every so often I don’t even know if there are buses and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen one bike but that is yet to be confirmed. A ‘short walk’ is between 1 and a half and 3 hours, and a ‘longer walk’ is anywhere from 5 Hours to ALL DAY. God really does have a sense of humour.
However as I type this today, the impossible has occurred. Ladies and gentlemen, I climbed my first mountain. Believe me I am just as surprised as you. I went with my fiancé and his father, every so often they would say to me ‘about 30 minutes and we’ll be at the top’. These regular updates helped me to keep going. And the view at the top? My goodness, it was like nothing I had ever seen, the highest point I had ever been in my life and all my could do was marvel at creation and feel such a sense of pride at what I had achieved. However our route off the mountain was really interesting. To get back to our car, we had to pass an abandoned village and eventually walk through a Valley. Our route home made me think, no sooner were we at the summit of this spectacular mountain did we find ourselves navigating through the middle of a valley. I couldn’t help but think how true to life this picture is.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel that no sooner am I on one of life’s peaks, marvelling at how far I’ve come; with a view of the entire picture of my life. I find myself in a valley, devastated and unsure how I got there. Struggling for breath to take another step, no idea if the ground underneath me is going to give way or not. I get so discouraged it always feels like the Valley lasts 3 times as long as the mountain top. But the question I always have more than any of the others is ‘How did I end up here?’
When did I get here? What did I do wrong? Why does the mountain top look so far away now? On my walk today, I believe God shared with me something that he wanted me to share with you. And that is that it’s all part of the journey. We had a route that we set out on today, the mountain top and the valley were all a part of it. Every moment of that walk I was exactly where I needed to be. In the parts that I enjoyed and in the parts that I didn’t. The parts that hurt and the parts that were comfortable. When I was euphoric and when I was desperate. Every single step I took contributed to reaching my destination. Not one step I took was in vain. Not one.
I’m emphasising because I want you to try and let that sink in. You are exactly where you need to be. If you’re on a mountaintop, or if you’re in a valley. God loves you enough to order your steps. Everything you face and everything you walk through is contributing to your destination, and is carefully planned out by the one who loves you enough to make everything you experience work for your good. Don’t believe me? Psalm 23:4 says 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. Valleys are dark and long, they can be cold and wet, but they’re part of the journey. The best news is that you have absolutely no reason to fear, because you are not alone. Your Heavenly Father is with you and he’s not even a little bit worried. He planned your route from the day you were born, and this valley you’re walking though is no less important than the mountain top you were just on.
I know it’s hard to grasp. The pain in the valleys is real, and at this point I know you’re exhausted. But the only way to get out is to keep walking. One single step at a time. Your legs are heavy I know, but just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Get a rhythm and keep going. You’ll get there. The mountain I climbed today looked impossible when we were at the bottom. But more now than I have ever believed, a journey of a million miles, starts with a single step. Keep going, there’s a plan, there’s a route. You’re not alone.
We love you.