Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Psalm 23:4
David’s experiences in the field alone at night as a boy certainly tempered his spirit and emotions. He undoubtedly stayed awake, frozen in fear, on many eerie, foggy, shadowed nights as he was growing up tending his fathers’ sheep. As David matured, his confidence grew through his many unexpected encounters with danger. By the time he was a young man, his resume included killing a bear, a lion, and a giant named Goliath. His life experiences groomed him into a kingly man of faith.
David’s confidence seems to soar as he writes these lines of his poem. Valleys, shadows, and darkness no loner held David hostage to fear. I can hear him say, Even if God leads me through valleys, dangers, difficulty, and disaster–I will not fear evil because I know God, my Shepherd, is with me. Knowing the Lord was by his side was all the assurance David’s heart needed.
Chances are none of us have faced such distinguished foes as David. Our lives are mostly cluttered with imaginations and “what if” scenarios. On occasion though, our path does travel through the dreaded valley of death. Even though death is a natural part of life, it’s a path we shy away from. We prefer celebrating the squeals of the first breaths of life over the loathsome sounds of final gasps.
Like David, we need to grow in our confidence that God, our Great Shepherd, will be with us to lead us through the shadowed valleys. We need to recognize that deep personal growth can be developed through our darkest times. We need to listen for His whispers as He directs our travel, and finally, we need to remember that not even death itself will separate us from God’s love.
As you travel your path of life today, I encourage you to trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and let Him direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
What shadows are obscuring your view and playing with your mind? Ask the Shepherd of your soul for help and stay close to Him. He will surely lead you safely through.