The Bad Side of Town
You hear laughing from the backseat and it’s infectious. You’re driving along, lost in the moment and enjoying the company when suddenly you realize, you don’t recognize your surroundings.
Gleaming storefronts have given way to run down warehouses and the people you see look rougher and decidedly unfriendly. After a few minutes, it seems as if the sun itself has grown darker and you know in the pit of your stomach that you’ve gone beyond what they call “the wrong side of the tracks.”
You begin to panic.
“How did I get here? Where do I go? I was just fine a few minutes ago and now this?! I don’t understand.”
You reason that someone–maybe aliens–have transported you here without your knowledge until you calm down and retrace your steps. It is then that you realize with a shiver running down your spine that you didn’t make a turn and no one transported you…
You’re on the same road.
I realize this is not exactly a great twist ending to a novel or a movie, but that’s kind of the point. We can sometimes get overly dramatic about our lives and situations, but God is always faithful. I love the richness of Psalm 23 and over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been captivated with a thought.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. –Psalm 23:2-4
We like the still waters and green pastures. We love that He guides in paths of righteousness, but when we get to the valley of the shadow of death, we think we’ve messed up or someone tricked us or God abandoned us.
That path through the dark valley is the path of righteousness when He is there. Just as David declared, you can say too, “I fear no evil.”
Peace is not determined by circumstances and how things look all around us. Peace is determined by our proximity to our Shepherd. The same joy you experienced in the light, you have access to in the darker places.
I’m hoping you’ll be encouraged as I am. The hard places and difficulties–the bad part of town– do not mean He left. The same road that brought you into will lead you out as you trust Him. Don’t turn back or be disheartened. Go on in the strength and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What do you say?