The Apostle Paul knew what it was like to go through the valley of the shadow of death. Paul experienced harassment, beatings, imprisonment, and shipwreck. His response:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8–12)
Why was there all this trouble in his life? He refused to stop following Jesus. Paul followed willingly wherever the Holy Spirit led him in the Roman Empire because he was convinced that God would see him through whatever God led him into.
New Testament scholar N. T. Wright notes:
In the present passage, Paul says he is persecuted but not abandoned; cast down but not destroyed. What he says here he says with the benefit of hindsight, but he has not forgotten that it did not feel like that when it was going on. When we read chapter 1 we discovered that at the time it really felt as though he was being crushed, abandoned and destroyed. How is this an encouragement for us when we go through persecution, temptation, suffering, bereavement, tragedy or sorrow? — (2 Corinthians For Everyone: Bible Study Guides)
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
If today we are hard pressed, we will someday come to see we are not crushed.
If today we are perplexed, we will not despair.
If today we are persecuted, we know we are not abandoned.
If today we are struck down, take heart — we are not destroyed.
In Christ, we lack nothing.
Pastor Mark loves his wife and grown children, the Word of God, and words. And coffee,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)
Christchurch Evangelical Covenant • 1900 Congress Street • Portland, Maine 04102 • 207-775-1900 • email@example.com