by Floriana Brindle
The presence of God in the valley of the shadow of death that we face on earth now, is in reality a glimpse and foretaste of the New Jerusalem that will come down from heaven when Christ returns. It is actually the Garden of Eden, but not yet in its fullness. The garden was a glorious place, merely because of the presence of God-- much like the tabernacle that was built by Moses in the wilderness. If it wasn’t for God’s presence dwelling in the earthly temple, it would just simply be an empty building. This also holds true for us as believers, and especially as mothers. Every single trial and every suffering we go through is always an opportunity for God to reveal to us His steadfast love and to remind us that He is truly with us. Every valley in our lives become green pastures as we humble ourselves and allow Him to open our eyes to see that the path that we walk on is for His namesake, so that means every valley is God ordained. He is the one leading us in this path just like he led the Israelites through the wilderness. But take heart; every path He leads will always be a path of righteousness.
Our blindness and unbelief in the LORD has hardened our hearts to the point where every hardship becomes a moment of outspoken rage against God. We don't like to suffer. We like to flee every crucible in our lives and take the easy route. We want pastures without the valleys. We don't want to die to our control because we love to lead ourselves. We don't want to let go of being God in our lives. If we are truly walking in the ways of our master, we must die to self because our leading will only push us far from him, which is what Satan tempted Jesus to do. He wanted Christ to experience false pastures, which are created by self-pleasures instead of pleasure in God (Matthew 4:8-10). Praise God that through every death in our lives there is also a resurrection. "We are always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal bodies." (2nd Corinthians 4:10-11).
God redeems every suffering we face by giving himself to us more and more. What we are forgetting, is that God did not even spare his own Son from walking through the shadow of death. In fact, not only did Christ walk into suffering on our behalf, he came face to face with death itself on the cross! Not only that, but the Father turned his back on Christ so that he would swallow up death for us once and for all. We will never experience the Valley like Christ did. God the Father will always shine his face on us because we are now clothed with the righteousness of Christ. This is why David can say at the end of the Psalm in verse 8, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." This promise is also true for all those that are in Christ. May the LORD give you eyes to see him in the valley.