I’m almost finished with the book “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell. This is the book that the recent movie “Lone Survivor” was based on. To say that it is intense, is an understatement.
The book, of course, shares and shows way more than the movie does. If you’ve seen the movie, I’d highly recommend the book because it will help you understand the culture that these Navy SEALs found themselves in in the midst of their deadly firefight, and the reason why the village took enormous risks in order to help save the last remaining SEAL, Marcus.
There is a point in the book where Marcus, wounded and bleeding profusely, is being thoroughly hunted by a group of Taliban warriors. They are stealthily following his trail, as he desperately tries to get himself into a position where there is some protection and some hope that he could win if another firefight breaks out. His buddies are all dead. The trap is laid for his life. He is dying from blood loss and thirst. There appears to be no hope.
Today I finished up studying Psalm 38. I’ve spent 3 days studying this Psalm, pouring over it, turning the words over and over in my mind. The first two days I spent on the easier verses of the passage. Today I took on the “harder to hear” verses–the ones that stab the soul. And I was reminded of Marcus, up on that steep Afghanistan mountain face, alone.
This is where Marcus was…….his heart throbbed, his strength failed him. He spoke of coming in and out of consciousness–the light of his eyes had gone from him. His friends and companions, while they did not “stand aloof” were either dead or thought for sure he was dead. His family did not intentionally stand far off, yet they were far away.
Those who sought his life, lay their snares. He could hear them talking, planning, plotting. They sought his hurt. They sought his death and ruin. These were hard, hate-filled men who meditated treachery all day long.
And Marcus, was sure he was alone. Terribly alone. And he was. Except…..it seems as if he was not. Marcus believed in God, and as he lay there in the shale and the unbearable sun, he repeated the 23rd Psalm to himself, over and over again, when, in the midst of doing so, a Pashtun villager appeared out of nowhere, with three of his buddies, and unbelievably decided to extend the gift of hospitality to Marcus–which in the culture means making the decision to help and defend those they take into their homes to the death. Not a light decision.
Another part of Psalm 38 says this:
Marcus had no choice but to wait for God. To wait for his answer as to whether he would live or die. His fighting desire was that those who sought his life would not rejoice over him when his foot slipped…literally…down the shale covered mountain.
Why do I share this long story with you? What does it have to do with Psalm 38? I don’t know about you, but it was a stark example to me of being alone. All alone. Oh, I would never, ever in a million years assume to have any understanding of what Marcus went through on that God-forsaken mountain in Afghanistan. But I do know what it is like to seemingly walk through the valley. Alone. I know what it is like for friends to disappear and kin to stand far off. I know what it is like to be alone—even in the midst of a crowd. And you do too. And I think of a time when, while my life was not technically in mortal danger, but there was one that sought my hurt, and I believe meditated treachery toward me. And succeeded, creating a sense of loneliness that no child, young person or adult should have to experience.
Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow…….
But what I came away from my study today is this: “For you, o Lord, do I wait.” And the same is for you…must be for you, when you are surrounded by the enemy and there appears no way out. “For you, Oh Lord, do we wait.” And David was certain—he was certain that God would answer. And remarkably, Markus–in the midst of blood, grief, gore and literally lostness–was certain that God would answer.
And so, I will wait. I will wait on the Lord. I do not sense Him or hear Him in this season, but I will wait. Marcus did not sense God on that mountain, but he waited and God sent miraculous help. I will wait on the Lord for God will answer me. I don’t know when, I don’t know how….but I’ll keep walking through these scriptures and presenting my questions to him.
Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow…..
Maybe you are in that Valley, too. Lost, wounded, bleeding, and stealthily being hunted. It may be the hardest thing you do, but we must try to follow David’s lead here and Wait on our God, for David was certain He would answer. We need to be certain, too.