This week’s devotionals are written by hospice chaplain April Knoke and can be found in the YouVersion reading plan, “Out of Death’s Shadow.”
God did not promise us a worry-free, problem-free life. What He does promise us is that He will be with us in the midst of the storms of this life. As a missionary kid who grew up to be a chaplain in the medical field, part of my calling (I say that instead of job) is to comfort people who are in their final stages of life. These are moments when families are in the middle of a storm. And although some storms may not lead to physical death, we’ve all experienced the feeling of life overtaking us.
In the classic passage of Psalm 23 we are shown that not only is God with us, God is with us and that means we don’t need to fear.
“ Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
Why don’t we need to fear? How are we going to make it through the storms? Some of them are so overwhelmingly difficult, it seems we will surely be swept away. We don’t have to fear because His rod and staff are there to protect and comfort us. You see, God knows that we live in a “fallen” world where the enemy is alive and well and seeking to devour us as Christians. He knows that we are living in the physical but fighting battles in the spiritual. This is why Christ instructs us to pick up our spiritual weapons and fight.
In John 16:33, He even tells us we can be confident!
33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] (AMPC)
How can we have good cheer and be confident while we feel overshadowed? It seems like a contradiction with what we are going through. The last part of that verse is the key. He has already overcome the world! If you have read the end of the Bible, our handbook for living life on earth, you know that God wins! If He wins, we win! There is no way it can’t happen, friends. The war is already won. The enemy is just engaging us in some battles now to try to render us powerless—powerless to complete our specific mission. But we are not powerless, even in the storm, when we strengthen ourselves with the weapons He has provided. Let’s not forget to take up our weapons and be ready for the storm, knowing that it will come.