"You never said that it would be easy,
You never said there'd be no pain
But you promised you'd go with me
And your promises you always keep."
"Valley" is a new song by Chris McClarney that everyone needs to be singing. Based on Psalm 23, it's a song built on the truth that suffering is inevitable in this life, but we can rest assured that whether the Shepherd chooses to deliver us or not, His promises to His children He always fulfills.
I'm not sure where the idea that once a person confesses Jesus as Lord, everything then becomes easy or blessed, came from, but it certainly isn't from the Scriptures! Let's just take a few examples of those from the OT and the NT and work this misnomer out.
The most obvious would be our friend Job from the book that bears his name. This is a man that had it all. Large family, lots of money, big house on the beach (I made that up), most likely prestige and all the things that go with it. If there was a poster child for "prosperity means all things work out for me", then this is it. Clearly, God allowed crazy amounts of calamity to fall on this man, through no fault of his own. Job lost his family, lost his livelihood, and almost his mind in a matter of minutes. It's enough to wreck anyone. On top of all that his friends (if you can call them friends) offer him advice that basically says, it's your fault, you did something wrong. In all of it, Job never lost His integrity, he never lost his way with the Lord. Was he hurt and complaining? Yes. Did he sin? No. Did he need to be reminded of a few things by the Lord? Don't we all?
Perhaps the author of Psalm 23 could shed some light on suffering as a follower of the Lord. King David understood suffering on a deep level. He suffered because of his sin, and also because of the sin of others. And yet God's promises to deliver the Messiah through David's line were fulfilled in Christ.
The apostle Paul in the NT recounts in his letter to the Corinthians how deeply he suffered because of the call on his life to follow Jesus. He describes in detail the beatings, calamity, starvation, and several other horrors that he has endured BECAUSE he follows Jesus. Not in spite of it, but because of it.
You cannot speak of suffering without mentioning Christ himself. The one that has suffered more than any of us could even fathom because of His great love for us. The notion that followers of Jesus avoid suffering or have it made in this life falls on its face at the cross. We are never promised ease or comfort as believers. We are promised an eternity with God. We are never promised wealth or security in this life from the one that lived in relative poverty and was a virtual nomad. No, we are promised a room in heaven and a seat at His table. And that is priceless on an unfathomable level.
Sing "Valley" this Sunday morning knowing that if you find yourself in a valley today, there is One walking with you who has been there. He knows and understands. Grab his staff and let Him lead you. He knows the way out.
Check out "Valley" here.
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