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 shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
It was quiet now, with all the activity of the day settling into a peaceful night of sleep. The sun had long since gone down, leaving the room dark with just a dim light coming in from the hallway and room next door. We were alone, as I sat and held the hand of my loved one wondering how long it might be before she would come face to face with her Shepherd. I was tired. I felt empty. My cup was dry; so I bowed my head in prayer.
I wish I could say that it was the events of the day which had caused my spiritual cup to run dry, but it wasn’t. I had spent much time alone that day. People had come and gone, but even with the constant buzz of the activity from the nurses providing care, I had much opportunity to sit with the Lord ~ pouring my heart out, and receiving the comfort that only our Shepherd can give. 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. I had been strengthened by His comfort, and yet part of me still felt empty; part of me still was holding back from the God I so love.
The truth is that the empty cup was my own doing. Life had dished me up less than my heart desired in recent weeks and instead of turning to the Lord to fill my cup, I was holding on to its emptiness like a treasure. Looking over what I lacked, turning it over and over in my mind’s eye, standing away from the only One who could meet the ever~piercing need I felt in my soul. I knew that the only reason my cup was empty was because I chose for it to be.
How it must break our Father’s heart when we as His children attempt to walk this life under our own strength, with our own agenda. Life can be hard sometimes. So many things can cause our cups to run dry leaving us feeling empty and alone. Unemployment can leave a child of God feeling financially dry if she is not open to God’s gracious provision. Marriage and relationship strife can be a constant grind on our limited emotional resources, if the endless love of God is not pouring into those hurting places in our hearts. Our children and our families’ seemingly relentless needs will leave a mother parched if she does not step up to the well to fill her cup with Living Water. Our collective burdens and needs would be a cavern that would engulf us all, if it were not for our loving Saviour who gives us a yoke that brings rest.
Sitting in the dark, in the quiet of that night, I felt the weight of my own need. I knew the road that my loved one and I would walk together that night would end in her leaving this world to be in the presence of God and for that I rejoiced, but I knew it was a road I could not bear alone. As I bowed my head, I took that empty cup I had been holding back, and gently lifted it to the Lord. The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want… He restores my soul. Our Father is faithful to meet our every need if we are willing to lift it up to Him. He met with me that night, and despite the difficult road that was ahead, my cup overflowed. Peace overflowed. Joy overflowed and a strength that was not my own carried me through.
Let’s lift up our cups, sweet sisters, and watch our loving Father fill them to overflowing.
“LORD, You alone are my portion and my cup; You make my lot secure.” Psalm 16:5