Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
When God released the Israelites from their Egyptian captors, He did not immediately bring them to the land he had promised them. Instead, the former slaves began a journey into self-discipline, trust, and courage. They had to learn to walk under submission to Jehovah, trusting Him to lead as a cloud by day and a glowing fire by night. Upon encountering other tribes in the region, they were commanded to fight and overcome, rather than face oppression from outside forces.
The Israelites were not allowed to settle in the region. Rather, God instructed Moses to keep moving forward. Throughout years of wanderings, Godís presence never left them, sustaining them through His all-consuming power. Though their lives were far from the luxurious life of the Egyptians, their basic necessities were met. Their clothes and sandals never wore out during this forty-year trek through hot desert sand. God strengthened feeble legs to endure miles of constant walking with few breaks. Those who endured held onto strong faith as they finally received the promise given to their forefathers.
Facing a chronic illness also begins a journey, which may seem a wilderness of medical symptoms, never-ending pain, and frequent invasions of privacy. We may wander from one doctor to another or one treatment to another in a seemingly unending cycle in our quest to find healing and inner peace. At times, your own body may treat you as friend or foe. We want our physical bodies to work as they were designed to work without mysterious pain flaring up during each day. We may face hours of weakness and fatigue, leaving us wondering how to continue, to face circumstances where we have to choose between trusting God or giving up.
Yet, God does not want us to settle down into depression, despair, and lost hope. He promises He will never leave us or forsake us, granting strength to fight our internal or external foes. Though we may not always see His promises fulfilled in the midst of our illness, eventually we will enter our Promised Land with strong faith and a glorious testimony.
Prayer: Lord, some days it seems I am wandering in circles in a vicious cycle. Help me to keep following wherever you lead me.