If you’ve bought the lie that you’re not going to make it, the Enemy is at your table. This voice tells you that life is hopeless. There’s no way out. May as well just chuck it all, quit, and die.
So often when we are asked how things are going, we reply with answers like, “Man, I don’t know if I’m going to make it through this season. I’m not sure I’m going to survive this semester. I don’t know if I’m going to get through this time.”
Have you ever heard yourself saying something like that? Where did you get that kind of thinking? Where did you hear those words of gloom and doubt? Not from your Good Shepherd. You likely heard them from the Enemy at your table.
See, your God has just told you that even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you don’t need to fear any evil. Did you catch the operative word in this sentence: through? Your Shepherd didn’t just say you’re going to the valley. He said you are going through the valley. In other words—you are going to make it.
That’s “even though / I will” faith being developed in you. Even though times are tough, God’s rod and staff are with you. Even though times are hard, you are not alone. God knows you’re going through a hard time. He knows the way is dark. He hasn’t promised to deliver you from the trouble. He’s promised to see you through the trouble. There’s a big difference.
You will not find the Good Shepherd telling you that you’re not going to make it. You will never find the Good Shepherd telling you that life is hopeless, there’s no way out. Why not chuck it all, quit, and die? That is not the voice of the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd says, We’re going through this valley, and I’m going to be with you all the way through. And guess what—we’re going to have a story to tell on the other side.
This is how God delivered His people from bondage in Egypt. He didn’t build a bridge over the Red Sea; He parted the sea so they could walk through it. Oftentimes God’s plan is not to build a bridge over troubled waters. Instead, His miracle plan is to give you the grace and the power to miraculously go through the troubled waters. “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there!” (Psalm 77:19 NLT). You are going through whatever circumstance you’re currently in. And your Shepherd is going through it with you.
It’s so easy to want to rewrite Psalm 23 so it says we sit at the table in God’s presence only, and not in the presence of our enemies too. Christians talk about how they love the presence of God and long for the presence of God, and they pray things like, Lord, would You just be with us today? But guess what? God has already answered that prayer with a yes. “Do you not realize about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” the apostle Paul asked in 2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV). We have an incarnational theology, which means that Jesus lives in us. There are moments when we sense that God is around us in a special or supernatural way. But we don’t need to bank on the cloud or the fire that God’s people saw manifested in days of old.
Interestingly, there isn’t one verse in the New Testament that encourages us to seek or to celebrate the “presence” of God. Why? Because God is now made visible (and for the thirty-three years God was in human skin, tangible) in and through the person of Jesus, who now lives in us through the Spirit. I no longer seek the presence of Jesus. I seek the person of Jesus. I’m not after the presence of the Holy Spirit. I want the person of the Holy Spirit and His power. I’m not calling on the presence of God. I have God (Father, Son, and Spirit) living in me.
And God promises He is with us in the presence of our enemies. Jesus is at the table with us in the fire, in the hardship, in the feelings of hopelessness, in the broken world. God doesn’t eliminate all of our difficulties. He allows us to walk through hardships, and He walks through those hardships with us.
Have you ever believed the lie that you’re hopeless? You are not hopeless. Jesus lives in you! Don’t give the Enemy a seat at your table.
Louie Giglio appears on LIFE TODAY this Monday. This is an excerpt from Don’t Give The Enemy A Seat At Your Table by Louie Giglio. Copyright ©2021 Louie Giglio. Published by W Publishing, an imprint of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.