Psalm 23 is a for­ma­tive sto­ry. It goes like this…there is going to come a day when God is going to make you lay down. Sure, there will be green pas­tures that will nur­ture you. There will be still waters that won’t over­whelm you. But there is still a need for a staff and there is still a need for a shepherd’s crook.

There is a place in Aus­tralia called the Nev­er Nev­er.” It’s in the out­back. It’s a tough place. There is bar­ren­ness, sti­fling heat, scor­pi­ons, dead­ly snakes, and des­o­la­tion. You’ve got to be very care­ful when you go to the Nev­er Nev­er. Its not a place for the weak of heart.

The Psalmist tells us there is a sim­i­lar place God’s peo­ple enter called the Even Though.” Even though you walk through the val­ley…. The even though is a place of tri­al and dif­fi­cul­ty, not eas­i­ly tra­versed by even the hearti­est of souls. I am sure you have spent time there, but prob­a­bly didn’t know its name.

Even though you’re strug­gling in a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal.
Even though you’re strug­gling in a mar­riage. 
Even though your finances aren’t work­ing.
Even though you’re sick and you wish you weren’t.

You have spent time in the even though, haven’t you?

Even though we walk that path, even though it can be a time of dif­fi­cul­ty and des­o­la­tion, the promise is that God will set a table before you. Even in the Even Though.

The great­est table that we’ll ever feast at is set in that stark land of the even though. I want to assure you of some­thing. When I went into the even though, I didn’t look for a table, I looked for a way out. I scratched for a way out. I didn’t real­ize there would be times in life where God would cause me to lay in weak­ness. He had to nour­ish me in a new way, and he had to teach me that even in the val­ley there can be a table.

God wants us to learn to not be quick to look for the way out of tough days, but to look for the table. Look for the food and the nour­ish­ment and the life that you wouldn’t get any oth­er way. It’s far from easy, but very impor­tant. When you’re at that table, the table set in the even though, you sud­den­ly see there is a cup and that cup will begin to over­flow.

I am learn­ing that good­ness and mer­cy fol­lows me all the days of my life even when I drink from a cup in the even though.

I didn’t drink that cup on the Mount of Trans­fig­u­ra­tion. I didn’t drink that cup when every­one was cel­e­brat­ing me. I drank that cup when my life was upside down and I didn’t know if I would ever breathe anoth­er sane breath…and all of a sud­den I drank a cup, and it was the promise of God.

Some of you are in the even though. Even though your mar­riage isn’t what you hoped it would be, even though mon­ey isn’t flow­ing the way you need it to, even though your daugh­ter isn’t lov­ing you, even though you’re sick­er than you wish you were. You’re in the even though, and I wish you weren’t…but look for a table. It comes in the strangest times and the strangest places. It comes from peo­ple who love you and you nev­er knew how much they loved you. It comes in the way you run to scrip­ture and sud­den­ly it nur­tures you in ways it nev­er did before, or a song you heard, or a sun­set that you final­ly see as a gift from God and the count­less ways you real­ize that there is a table in the even though where you learn that your cup will over­flow all the days of your life, even the next time you go to the even though.”

I used to think the only way I could meet God was in strength, in the good land, in the hap­py times, when every­body was cel­e­brat­ing me…but I have found that no, there is a table set before me in the land of the even though, and while my ene­mies may be think­ing that it proves that God doesn’t love me, this is the proof that he loves me, and you, with an ever­last­ing love.

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Shared with the per­mis­sion of the author. This arti­cle was tran­scribed from a sem­i­nar pre­sen­ta­tion giv­en in Ash­land, Ohio. For more life-giv­ing con­tent from Ter­ry War­dle and oth­ers in the Heal­ing Care Fam­i­ly, vis­it the Heal­ing Care Min­istries web­site.

Pho­to by Char Beck on Unsplash

Text First Published April 2020 · Last Featured on July 2022

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

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