Psalm 23 - Week 9
…fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
I think we have to go to a few of the other versions for help here.
NLT: Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
NIV: Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
The scriptures talk a lot about valleys. Valleys that lead to doors of hope, valleys of sorrow, valleys where battles are fought. In Charles Spurgeon’s commentary on the Psalm, he points out that the psalmist is walking…he is still walking. And he is not alone.
I hold out a “Valley Exercise” for you. I did the exercise myself and I will share it with you. Hopefully, it doesn’t hinder you from having your own imaginative gospel contemplation with Jesus but is an encouragement to do so!
Imagine yourself in a valley. Jesus is with you. Become aware (in your imagination) of all your surroundings. Become aware of your primary emotion in this valley. As you get in touch with this emotion, what will you call this valley? What is the valley’s name? Continue on and allow the time to develop between you and Jesus. Are you having a dialogue? Do you receive an image or a word? Something else? Write out your experience. If you write it down, you will remember things more clearly.
Debbie’s Valley: The Valley of “I Can’t See”
At first the valley was narrow with very high walls of rock and a damp ground to walk on. It turned a corner into a wider, more open area. But it was still very low and the walls of rock remained although they were farther in the distance. I was filled with such a sense of not seeing which created an angst, a form of frustration in me. So, I called my valley the valley of “I Can’t See.”
I became more aware of Jesus once we turned the corner into the wider space. I complained to Him, “I can’t see!” He playfully jumped in front of me saying, “You can see Me though right?!” I laughed a little and said, “Yes, I can see You, Lord.”
“The valley is a place of blossoming,” Jesus said. I looked and saw one lone beautiful flower. I wondered what it represented but somehow, I knew that we can’t always know what God blossoms in us while we are in the valley.
“The valley is a place where you learn to walk by faith,” Jesus said. But I cried and said that my legs were tired and my feet sore. He did the most beautiful thing. He sat me on a rock and tenderly washed my feet with the coolest and refreshing water. I let myself feel it for awhile. Then I remembered the scriptures telling the story of when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet while telling them that they were already clean as a whole. I sat in front of Jesus and let myself feel the cleanness that came from Him.
“The valley is a place that is slow and hemmed in from many distractions.” Jesus said. “You can notice many things and your heart grows in wisdom. Wisdom is the greatest treasure found in the valley.”
I loved hearing about the slowness and the wisdom.
I looked up to the mountains and confessed, “It is hard not to wish we were there instead of here.”
“Yes, Debbie. But this is how the soul is trained to delight being where it actually is”
Our time closed with a long embrace.
Picture by Alex Vasey - Unsplashed