Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. You are with me.” Psalm 23:4
I heard him before I saw him. Last week I was walking in the city park. It wasn’t the casual walk but the exercising kind. I do about 2.5 miles in about 35 minutes. That day the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the trees were doing their “leafing out” thing and it was a good day. Then, like I said, I heard him before I saw him.
I was alone in the park till then. As I crossed the bridge on the north end of the park there was a man in his forties or fifties. He was dressed normally–whatever that means but that was where normalcy ended. At first, I thought he had one of those things in his ear that enabled him to talk on his cell phone. The closer I got the more I could see and hear.
He was angry. He was shouting. He was cursing. Then he began to pick up rocks and throw them violently in one direction and then another. I realized he was fighting a battle with someone I could not see but he could. To him it was real–very real. He felt threatened and hurt by an enemy only he could see.
I prayed. I asked God to deliver him from the invisible demon that was haunting him. I asked God for His peace to come upon this peace-less man. Later I saw him leaving the park, no longer angry, no longer violent, no longer cursing. It seemed from where I was that a moment of calm had come to his storm wrecked mind. I was grateful and told God so.
I thought about that day several times and I realized that in these days there are a lot of folks fighting and fearful of enemies–enemies that don’t have or need a face to wreck their lives. The covid-19 virus, the loss of a job or business, the fear of losing someone they love, the fear that things will never be the same, the fear that this fear will own them–consume them.
My mind goes back to Psalm 23:4. David, chased by a crazed king consumed with jealousy, chased by too many memories of too many failures writes, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. You are with me.” He was wise enough to know that as he walked through this valley it wasn’t filled with real monsters–only monster “wanna-be’s.”
You see, the valley became a roadway and not a residence. Death, because of his faith in a “bigger-than-anything” God, was reduced to a shadow. Shadows can frighten but can cause no real damage or harm. How did that happen? Somewhere along the way David chose to believe in his “bigger-than-anything” God and he found peace. He said, “I don’t need to fear evil, no matter what it looks like, because You are with me.” You are with me. Today as you journey, remember all around us are people who fight battles with enemies only they can see. Be sure and swift not to judge but to pray. That day in the park I got it right but trust me I don’t always do that. It’s then that I pray a different prayer–one for forgiveness. And if you are fighting those invisible enemies today–just a word or two. God loves you. Rest in Him. He’s got this.