Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)
Far too many people today, even some in the church, wrongly believe that circumstance makes the person. They would tell you that you become what you are because of the circumstances you encounter throughout life. But James Allen, author of As a Man Thinketh, brilliantly corrected this misunderstanding: “Circumstance does not make the man . . . it reveals him.”
Make no mistake, our verse of encouragement today tells us how independent the Christian is from outward circumstances. This is because of one simple truth: Jesus is with us!
- Jesus was with Moses walking through the Red Sea.
- Jesus was with Elijah on Mount Carmel facing the prophets of Baal.
- Jesus was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace.
- Jesus was with Daniel in the lions’ den.
- Jesus was with Stephen being stoned.
- Jesus was with Paul in prison.
- Jesus was with John in exile on the island of Patmos.
And Jesus is with you – regardless of where this finds you today!
If the storm winds are blowing, we can be calm because the One who calmed the storm is with us. If the seas are stormy and it looks like our boat is about to capsize, we can be at peace because the One who said “Peace, be still” is with us. Darkness may be all around you, but fear not! The Light of the World has promised to guide you and protect you and to ultimately get you safely to the other side. If you find yourself lying on a bed of sickness, fear not. Your sickbed becomes a throne of grace because Jesus is with you in your sickness. If you are facing financial difficulties and poverty is banging at your door, fear not. Jesus has promised to give you more in your less than the rich will ever have in their abundance. Even death itself cannot disrupt the peace of the disciple because Jesus became the death of death, and to cross the Jordan with Him is to enter the place marked Glorious Gain!
Regardless of the circumstances you are facing today, fear not! The power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within has given you the power to make you independent of all of them. Darkness becomes light. Loss becomes gain. And death becomes life, because Jesus is with us and has promised never to leave us no matter what.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!