Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
 all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

All throughout life you will face hardships. It is just a part of being human. Things come up in your life that you can’t control and that just clearly stink sometimes. I know it’s hard, and it feels terrible, but you have to always remember that the Lord is with you. Even though you may not realize it, or even think about it, he is always there watching out for you. 

Ever since I was a small child, my relationship with my grandmother was incredible. I used to go over to her house almost every day after school. We’d play, go fishing, cook, watch Jeopardy, and so much more. I even lived there for part of my childhood. My grandmother was my best friend, and I’d do everything with her. This happened from ages 6-16.

However, in about August of 2019, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I was devastated. To see what cancer could do to someone, how it could change them, was one of the worst things ever. She battled through it to the best of her ability, but eventually had to have an operation to try and save her. The doctors did not know her chance of survival, as she was a frail 78 year old. I prayed a lot, but I also had many doubts. I battled with my own faith at this time, as I did not understand how a loving God could do this to someone who was one of the greatest and most loving people I had ever known. However, faith prevailed as my grandmother made it through the surgery and is still recovering to this day. Things like this can be very difficult to grasp, but God is there to comfort you, as this psalm says. He is always present in your life, even in “the valley of the shadow of death”.

Earlier this year I was told that I had to have two major surgeries in order to help me live a healthier life as an adult. These two surgeries came up around the same time as my grandmother’s condition came up, so there was a lot of stress. There was so much confusion and pain in my life. I did not know what to think anymore. However, after seeing the inspiration that was my grandmother and personally deciding to live a more fulfilling life, I chose to look for God, and power through these conditions. I started working out, as I wanted my body to be in top shape for the surgeries. I started to look for God in all things. I started to change my attitude of hopelessness into one of positivity and kindness. I learned that you have to try and look for the good in all things and situations because if you spend too much time dwelling on all the stuff that’s not important you’ll run out of time and just get lost. 

The psalm says, “You have set a table for me in front of my enemies”. The Lord is offering us a grand life in him, even when we are surrounded by all these hardships. Through the pain, there is the Lord. He is there waiting for us to choose him, at “his table”. Once we decide to be strong and live for him, then we will truly be living out his call for us to live holy lives.

Dear God, thanks that you are with us even in the valley of the shadow of death. Thanks for inviting us to the table with you there. Help us to look for you and to choose you, and then teach us to trade our hopelessness for hope and kindness.