"If you're going through hell, keep going." Churchill
What a difference 6 months can make. Back last July, I walked through the cattle chute below the church. I remember the cooler temperature in there. I also remember the smell of garbage cans that had been sitting in the heat too long. I also remember the stale smell of someone's vomit in there. Needless to say the walk was swift and not repeated too many times.
A new month and new things to learn about the chute below the church. The other day, I cut through the shortcut and found a new characteristic to deal with. It was a cold windy day and the cold seemed to be cutting right through my trousers. Let me tell you something, that narrow chute seemed to increase the wind velocity threefold. It was like a wind tunnel....duh, I guess it is a wind tunnel!!
I don't really understand the 'venturi' effect or the 'Bernoulli' principle but the narrow walkway definitely had an increase of something in there. It felt like a giant hand pushing against my body and I was so glad to exit the end of this tunnel. Half way through I wanted to turn around and go back but instead pressed onward.
God is a very present help in times of trouble. I know this to be true not only because of many personal experiences but because the Bible tells me so.
"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23, NIV)
Our nation is going through hell right now and it would be easy to think God has abandoned us. We would be wrong. In tension filled arguments, God is present. In hate filled riots, God is present. In places of despair, God is present. For the alien seeking shelter, God is present. For the native who fears the future, God is present. In the midst of our greatest fear, God walks with us. The Psalm does not say God will remove us from the valley of the trial, only that God will be with us. That speaks of a relationship that cannot be broken. That tells me that God loves me....and you.
If God walks with us....and I believe God does, then our obedience to stay close to God is essential. When words of anger want to push past our lips, remember who walks beside us. When we want to defend our position in an argument, remember who walks beside us. When we want to damage another person's character and gain the upper hand, remember who walks beside us. It may seem like we are enduring hell. Maybe we are, but we do not endure it alone. Don't forget who walks beside us today.