Read Psalm 23, is a scripture that has many reminders that God is with us. It is a very popular scripture - I think it is the most popular scripture for people to get in a tattoo (which I am not suggesting you do)! But I am suggestion that you read it and try to memorize it. It will be a scripture that will help you through some of your darkest days and stressful weeks.
Psalm 23 starts with the image of God being our shepherd. I know you probably haven't seen any sheep or shepherds around lately... but a Shepherds job is to live with the sheep and protect them, they lead them to green grass to eat and water to drink, and they care for them. The shepherd never leaves the sheep. The shepherd directs the sheep where to go with his rod and staff.
Read Psalm 23 a couple times.. and think about what word or phrase sticks out to you?
What comes to mind when you think about God being with you through "The darkest valley"?
What has been the darkest valley in your life? (Example: Losing a loved one, being stressed, feeling lost in the world, feeling alone, being rejected, being sick, etc)
How have you felt the presence of God through your darkest valley? Did someone give you comfort? Perhaps, a stranger talked with you and understood what you were going through? Did you ever figure out how to get out of your valley (Could that be because God was showing you the way)?
I have a good friend named Sheila. Sheila is one of the kindest and most sympathetic people I know. Sheila is a friend that never let's someone cry alone. If she sees you crying she is going to cry with you. If you tell her how you are struggling.. Sheila is going to feel your pain. Sometimes even when you can't cry (or are trying not to cry), Sheila will cry for you. I never realized until today that Sheila has taught me something about Jesus. She is often the presence of Jesus to me because she cries. Sheila has the biggest heart and love for others. It teaches us in scripture that Jesus weeps when his friends are in pain. When his friends Mary and Martha were grieving the loss of their brother.. even though Jesus knows he is going to raise their brother Lazarus from the dead in like 5 minutes.... he cries with Mary and Martha. Jesus cries because he feels the pain and sadness of his friends. It says in the Psalms that Jesus knows ever tear we cry and collects it in a jar. In this Psalm 23, it says the Shepherd knows what you are going through, knows when you are walking through a dark valley, because the shepherd is with you.
The past couple months has been a bit of a dark valley in our world and lives. Yes, there have been some good moments (like all the times I have won at Skipbo during quarantine). But lately, it seems obvious that the people in this world are in a lot of pain (on all sides of every issues in the news today). Psalm 23 reminds us that God is with us in our pain. God is with us in our valley. God is there with a rod and a staff to comfort us and gently keep us from falling off the edge of the cliff.
Does knowing God cries with you change anything?
Do you believe that God cares about your pain? Why or Why not?
Are you honest with God about your pain? Or do you try to avoid it?
What would it look for you to weep with those who are weeping?
What would it mean or look like for you to allow God to weep with you when you are in pain?
God is with us even now.
God is with us always.