“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” - Psalm 23:4
Jeanne, Benjamin and I went to the movie theater a while back. We decided to go to the first showing of “Avengers Endgame” at 4 p.m. on a Friday.
We arrived about 25 minutes early. As it turns out, that was just enough time to get three seats that were next to each other in theater No. 1. Space filled up fast. Soon there were only a few single seats available.
With so many people, the smell of popcorn was more intense than usual. The distinctive sound of it being consumed in mass was also amplified.
For a moment or two, this was a problem for me. I then refocused and managed to block out my temptations.
You see, I have some food sensitivities. One is to dairy products. I am lactose-intolerant. So, butter is an issue for me. Corn is also something I have learned that I need to avoid at all costs. If I should eat some, my body will attempt to purge it as quickly as possible.
As you can imagine, going to the movie theater can be a challenge, especially when my son typically eats popcorn right next to me.
When this happens, I have to chuckle to myself. I recall that “it is in the darkest of places that temptation may be the greatest,” and joke that this must somehow be a small taste of “the valley of the shadow of death.”
It has been years since I’ve had popcorn. Why? It is because I know the consequences if I should fall off the wagon, and I would regret it. So, why even go there?
After the movie is over, I walk out of that darkness and into the light once again, and I am thankful.
We all experience darkness and valleys filled with shadows in our lives. The forms are not the same. For each person, it may be different.
In that darkness may be weaknesses, struggles, limitations and further displays of the human condition.
To me, such things are not all bad.
As long as they lead to light.
This light is that God cares for you and wishes for you to take care of yourself, no matter what addiction you battle.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 30 years.