He → You
By Youval Yanay
Psalm 23 begins with, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” In the beginning of the chapter, David refers to God in the third person. “HE makes me lie down in Green Pastures. HE leads me beside still waters.” He is the shepherd. But then in verse 4,“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for YOU are with me.”
Here, suddenly God goes from being distant to close: YOU. When we arrive at places of difficulty, there God “transitions” from being the Almighty in an overarching sense; to being the one we can talk with, who takes our hand to lead us. The connection becomes much more intimate – face to face.
Precisely when we cannot see through the shadows. Precisely in the midst of adversity, God changes from He to You. And that encourages me because when “butterflies” of fear begin fluttering in my stomach, I know that in addition to the challenge in front of me, I am also about to experience closeness to God in a way I could not experience otherwise, while rollicking in green pastures and having all of my needs instantly met.
We see an application of this when Paul writes to Timothy “…join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God…” (2 Timothy 1:8 NIV). He says, in effect: We are entering difficulty, but not alone. The strength of God will not leave us, but He is not here to remove hardship. Rather, He is here to help us pass through it, to be changed from inside. And draw closer to him.