God is with us in every valley.

God is With Us.

There is so much pain right now. Losing service members in Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti, flooding in Waverly, TN, all those lives lost, the whole situation with our government, sicknesses, and hurricane Ida. 

Everything seems too much for my heart and head to process. I can not address any one of these hurts fully and adequately. All I can do is lean into God. 

Lean into and press forth. 

Let Him lead me. 

It stirs up this veteran’s heart something fierce when I think about the 13 empty dinner plates of the service members killed. Tears come streaming down when I think about the father who lost his children so fast in a flash flood. There is so much pain around this world. The other night I was utterly overwhelmed. I just wanted to cry. It is ok to sob and post online and gather with loved ones in such trying times, yet know we must not dwell there. Instead, we need to press into our God who heals all wounds, who, even though we are in troubled times, does not leave us or forsake us.  

A Psalm of David. 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

    He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

    He restores my soul.

He leads 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 mercy[e] shall follow me

    all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

    forever.

It was recently brought to my attention that it says right there in verse 4 that God is with me and you as we walk through the valley. Did you catch that also? We are not alone. Isn’t that reassuring? 

It’s essential for us not to lose sight of that. No one tragedy is better or worse than another, yet God is with us as we walkthrough. No valley is too small or too big. We need not fear because God has already overcome the world, and if we can genuinely picture this in our hearts though we are sad, we are not lost or without hope. 

Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Philippians 4:12-13 “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Walking out giving our pain to the Lord starts with Prayer. It sounds simple, and maybe right now, your rolling your eyes at me. Prayer is something we say and talk about, but we need to actually do it. Sit still and talk to the Lord your God. He and He alone can strengthen you. 

It is crucial that we do not lose sight even though we look at the brokenness in this world and have deep compassion for it all. We are here to be fishers of humans. To come alongside our neighbors in need and show them, love. Show them God’s love shining through in the dark parts of their lives. 

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28

With Love,

Jenny Cioto

Pursuing true North