Kia ora Cambridge Baptist and friends,
One the few good things about being in lockdown is that I can go to church anywhere in the world on a Sunday morning. This Sunday I visited through the wonders of the world wide web a church in Kansas City Missouri and heard a great message by their pastor Timothy Juhnke about the importance of work. This message was given in the context of 21 million Americans now finding themselves unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. When we consider that for many Americans their health care is attached to their employment, they are really living in scary times – they really feel they are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. I mean who’s going to pay for their ventilator if they get COVID-19.
I don’t know about you, but if I were in a situation like this, I would begin to wonder if the Lord had abandoned me. In such times many of the people in Kansas City, which has a high rate of church attendance, find comfort in the words of Psalm 23 and that they have a shepherd to lead them through dark valleys.
In Psalm 23 David paints a beautiful picture of a shepherd leading his sheep back home at evening. As they go down through a narrow gorge, dark shadows are cast by the towering walls of the gorge. The way ahead is dark. In the Hebrew this is a valley of deep shadows. The sheep, because they are so timid, are frightened by the darkness and by what they can’t see. But they trust the shepherd, and therefore they are comforted and are persuaded to walk through the darkness by the encouraging call of His voice. They fear no evil because the shepherd is with them.
Today our shepherd is doing the same thing. He’s encouraging all of us in this dark time. He’s saying trust me I will bring you through to the light. Don’t be afraid.
He says he will never leave us or forsake us. He is always there. Therefore, we have no reason to fear. And as that is a comfort to those believers in Kansas City so it should be a great comfort to us as well.
Lord thank you that you are leading us through this dark valley. Thank you that you will never leave us or forsake us. Open our ears so we can hear your voice and be led and encouraged. Please protect us from harm.