“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, NKJV
No one welcomes hard times, but no one can avoid them. What is your “valley of the shadow of death?” Remember, it is the valley of the shadow. What’s the point of being afraid of a shadow? The path through the valley may be difficult. It will probably twist and turn so that we cannot see very far ahead. I know from experience that not knowing the outcome from the beginning tempts me to fear.
The secret of the valley is to walk through it, anyway. That is the way to fear no evil. That is the way to learn that, however unpleasant the valley may be, there is no evil in the valley to fear; it is only a shadow. Whoever balks at walking through or stops along the way to cower will fear the shadow.
We must keep walking, even though we may encounter much that seems like evil at the time. We are not called to walk in the valley or around it. We must walk through it. There is another side of the valley, and the one who walks through it will find that other side and the easier, more pleasant path that continues there.
God himself walks through the valley with each of us. David, the shepherd, envisions God himself as a shepherd, using his shepherd’s tools to keep the sheep from wandering away from the safe path. On the other side of the valley, we may well recognize that what seemed like evil in the valley was God’s rod and staff, preventing us from going in an attractive but dangerous direction. Whatever we lost in the valley, God will restore in another way.
Are you walking through a valley? Cling to God. Listen for his voice; you will hear it if you listen. Take comfort in his correction, and hope in the promise of the other side of the valley. Walk through.