Through The Valley
Updated: Mar 20
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff-- they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
The psalmist really takes us there in this reading, don't they? Perhaps that is one of the reasons Psalm 23 is such a well worn psalm. We know about these valley experiences. We may even know about the grief and despair that the valley of the shadow of death entails. My heart pangs to even mention it. We can imagine all kinds of scenarios and meanings for the “valley of the shadow of death”... that place where pain and suffering are so very real.
And, also, the psalmists use of the word “through” here is important. When we are faced with valley days, or even valley seasons in our lives, they are never a final destination. The shadow of death, even death itself, is never the last word. The 23rd Psalm doesn’t talk about going into the valley of no return. Rather, the valley is part of a larger journey, a path that we go through. As we go through these valleys in life we hope and trust in God to shepherd us through to the light of the other side; for we know that God is with us, every step of the way. Gods saving presence is always with us, on the glorious mountain tops and in the darkest valleys.
How does the image of God as The Good Shepherd bring you comfort?
What places or scenarios in your life could use some good shepherding?
Help me to be open to your comfort and guidance in my life. Thank you for caring for all of your sheep, even me. Amen.