The walk through the valley

By Dave Henning / May 27, 2024

“The walk through the valley of the shadow of death enables us to find a shepherd, to study the staff, to feel the protection of the rod.  Without that walk . . . the knowledge of God as shepherd, the significance of His staff, and the power of His rod are merely words.”- Sara Hagerty

“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.”- Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

Sara Hagerty concludes Chapter 5 of The Gift of Limitations as she describes instances when we reach for what isn’t, over and over again.  We call it ‘dreaming with God’, visionary living, or holding out a hopeful perspective.  However, Sara questions, do we reach at the expense of bringing to God the pain of unmet ideals?

Consequently, Sara discloses, idealism left her:

  • with her head in ides and her knees far from the floorboards.
  • trusting the story, the vision, and the dream — and trustless toward God.
  • believing it all felt good and right.

Therefore, Sara cautions:

“Could the danger of unfettered idealism — of the dreamer on her bike given full range of the city before she’s able to take the training wheels off — be in pursuing a dream that keeps God at a distance, a dream that somehow I’m calling His?”

In conclusion, Sara states, without idealism, we feel raw and exposed.  At that point, we begin to see God’s story as the one we needed all along.  So, to receive His story, we must let go of our best contrived story.

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote:

“Things must go, not according to your understanding, but above your understanding.  Submerge yourself in lack of understanding, and I will give you my understanding.  Lack of understanding is real understanding, not knowing where you are going is really knowing where you are going.”

Today’s question: What Bible verses most help when you take the walk through the valley?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Touchstones in our stories”

About the author

Dave Henning

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