what I was trying to save. Despite knowledge and experience that should help me to know better, I still pursue shortcuts. This past month, I have found myself saying, “I just want to get over this year!” Or, “I just want to get past 2020!” But, there is no magic time machine that will get me over or past the next few months. The only way to get to 2021 is to go through the rest of the year.
Psalm 23 has long been a source of comfort and encouragement in difficult times. This weekend, I suddenly realized that in my search for that elusive shortcut past the rest of the year, I was missing the key concept in this Psalm: the Shepherd. Verse 4 immediately came to mind: Even 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. I realized I have been looking for spiritual shortcuts.
This year has been filled with shadowy places worldwide. People around the world have faced sickness, natural disasters, social unrest, violence, polarizing political ideologies, and there seems to be no end in sight. With all of the daily reminders of the shadows of death, turmoil, and evil, it has been easy to fall into fear and wanting to bypass any more heartache. My eyes can’t see the end of this dark valley, so my natural tendency is to seek out a shortcut and bolt like a frightened lamb.
My reaction is the opposite of the beautiful picture in Psalm 23. God is willing to go through the difficult places with me and He knows the best way. He is with me so there is nothing to fear. These trips through the valley are opportunities to spend time with a Good Shepherd who cares for me. Shortcuts around the difficult times will not save any time or spare me any heartache. It is only when I remain close to the Shepherd, and follow His guidance that I will find safe passage through the shadowy places.
In His Name, Bonnie