“Yea, 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.” Psalm 23:4

Today I was texting a friend of mine who tested positive for Covid last week to check on her. She is more than a friend, she is a spiritual mom and prayer mentor for me as well. She’s in one word…amazing. She sent me a text back that read:

“Improving…Thanks for churching…Gaining strength.”

“Thanks for churching” caught my eye. I immediately knew it was one of those funny iphone word corrects for “checking” but something about the word “churching” just seemed appropriate. I’ve never heard church used as a verb before but I like it!

In Psalm 23:4 we read, “Yea, 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.”

There have been times when I was in a valley, either physically, spiritually or emotionally, and there were people whom the Lord sent to be His hands and feet for me.

I remember a time when I was very sick, it was several years ago and I was sick for a couple of weeks…bad, couldn’t get out of bed, felt like I could die kind of bad. There was a friend who churched by bringing dinner for my family. There are many examples like this.

Friends have sat with me in hard places, listening, praying with me, crying with me in the middle of emotional turmoil and pain.

This is the body of Christ at work and it is needed and it is indeed churching.

Jesus churched.

Jesus was never afraid to step into the dark places, the hidden sin, the pain and suffering of His people. And we want and need to follow His example. He is with us in the valley, in our lowest points. Because of that truth, we can fear no evil for He is with us, His rod and staff comfort us.

Jesus often sends tangible evidence of His presence through others. When He seems quiet, look at the different ways He may be gently whispering, I’m here.

Perhaps you are one who is the valley today. If you are, please know you are not alone. I know what it is like to be in a valley and feel stuck. I know what it is like to want desperately to climb out of the valley, digging my heals in seemingly in vain just making tread marks in the dirt. I know what it is like to climb one step at a time, thankful for each time I felt more footing and the light at the top seemed to grow closer with each step.

Today, whether you are in a valley or feel on top of a mountain, I want to exhort you today to look around and where you might church. If you are in a valley, helping another often lifts us a step up as well.

Beloved, like Jesus, we need to be willing to be with our sisters and brothers in the valley, sitting, listening, praying…churching.

Jesus never meant for us to be alone in the valley nor feel alone. The Church was meant to come alongside and to walk with others in the valley and not fear, giving comfort. What joy it brings when someone is willing to sit in our pain with us, knowing we are not alone. What a kindness this is. This, my friends, is churching.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that you never leave us nor forsake us. Even in the valleys and darkest moments, you are there with us. Lord, I pray that You would show us how to be the Church and that we would be mindful of those around us. May the world see and say, “Thanks for churching!” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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