Even 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.
What do you fear?
The dark? That creepy thing under your bed? The unknown of tomorrow? Death? Dying? The loss of a loved one?
Maybe you fear hardship; the loss of a job, financial security, dealing with difficult relationships, sickness or disease , raising difficult children, insurmountable debt.
Whatever the fear, for you it's real. It's something that you face on a regular basis. And if you're not careful, if could consume you.
As I have sat thinking upon verse 4, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," I wondered what that might look like. And the more that I thought about it, the more I determined that the valley is different for each of us. The imagery here is of the difficulties that we might face in this life and how they press in on us. Whether it's the news of cancer and a not so favorable outcome, or your spouse telling you they want a divorce, or a financial crisis bound to wreck our credit rating, or the painful loss of a child, these difficulties are some of the valleys we must walk through.
But David's words offer us a sure and certain hope. We are not alone. You see, David doesn't say 'if' I walk through the Valley... No, he suggests that we will. But when we do, our shepherd is with us.
The Bible talks often of how we will face trials, persecution, struggles, and difficulties. It's part of the life we live after the cusre. But it's also part in who we are as believers. God often uses those valleys in the shadow of death moments to refine us, strengthen us, and grow us to be more like His Son. It's sometimes a painful process, but the promise is, we don't have to go through those valleys alone. David says, even though we walk through difficult times, we can fear no evil, because our Shepherd is with us, leading us, protecting us, comforting us.
Would you take a few minutes today and think back to those valley moments? Look to see where God's rod and staff were evident. Sometimes we miss them in the moment, but after the fact we can see them. Thank Him for His protection. If you find yourself in the valley today, know that God is with you. And while it might be difficult now, remember what Romans 8:26-28 says...
"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good." (Romans 8:26-28 msg)
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