Walking through the shadows of the valley of death…

January 20, 2009

Psalm 23 remains to be the most popular chapter in the Bible.  The psalmist’s way of declaring himself as one who is in need of a shepherd echoes universal pathos of dependence and at times helplessness.

We are like sheep in many ways.  We need to be taken to a safe place so we can drink freely.  We get scared by so many things and without a shepherd to guide us, we will just be following the next sheep or person ahead of us.

Sheeps are direction-less. And in many ways, so are we.

The most poignant of this Psalm is toward the end :  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

Walking through the valley.  This could picture still having some semblance of strength to walk through it.  Maybe the remaining strength is no longer enough for you to run through it, thereby escaping all the associated fears of the moment.  But the psalmist declares “even when I walk…”

Many times in our lives – when we go through our difficulties – it can be likened to a a very slow walk.  You are moving to a certain extent, but the pace could really kill you from anxiety.  But I think the action described here is not merely poetic.  Because in the real sense, when difficulties arise, the pace could be so fast that many times it feels like a rug has been yanked from under your feet.

You walk.  This shows the daily walking, breathing, living along with the trial that surround you.  You go through the valley.  It could be dark – and the surrounding mountains are too high to be scaled upon by whatever measure of strength left in your body.  So you walk. One step at a time.

You see shadows and these shadows may actually point you to the light or may keep you from seeing the light.  The shadow is all around you as you walk through the valley.

What is the valley of death that you are walking on right now?

A failed marriage perhaps. A lost opportunity for love?  Health concerns that seem to keep on coming back?  A family dispute that will take you nowhere? A financial meltdown?  Death in the family and you wonder how you would ever cope without this precious life to love you?  Failed and lost dreams?  These and more are shadows as you walk through the valley.

Of death.

But the psalmist does not end there.  He bravely declares, “I will fear no evil… For you are with me…”

I will not fear.  This signifies decision that has been made from the most resolute part of the heart.

I will not fear, not because I can command the shadows to go away.

I will not fear, not because I have the strength to walk through the darkness.

I will not fear is a statement based on the confidence of who he is walking with.

And this is our secret.  We go through the shadows. We walk through the valley and many times, the shadows hide the precipitous cliffs and difficult traverse.

But we do not go through it alone.

We never go through it alone, and this is what the psalmist is highlighting for us.

For You our Lord, is with me.  Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

So hang on dear friends.  The Lord knows exactly where you are, right under the shadows, painfully walking through the valley. He has been there. He knows how it feels like – and because He has gone through it – we are never alone as we traverse this valley filled with shadows of the unknown.

Friends may walk with you for awhile. Brothers and sisters may even grow weary of lifting you up. But HE who came down to be like us, will never leave you hanging. He will never leave you to drown in your fears.

As you walk – He is walking with you.

May you ever experience the loving, tender,compassionate and healing presence of the Lord as you go through the shadows of the valley of death.

In Jesus’ name.

AMEN

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3 Responses to “Walking through the shadows of the valley of death…”

  1. andoi Says:

    “What is the valley of death that you are walking on right now?”

    -to see a young person who ran away from her home due to abuses (and i mean abuses) done by her big sister (who by the way is an elder in church) while finding comfort myself because of this sad, brutal events in her young life.

    And this is the second time now.

    God! Help!

    I’ll be seeing this young sister tonight.
    I dunno what’s next for her.
    I dunno how to help her.
    I dunno how the church can help her.

    I just dont know.

    God! Help!

  2. oftherock Says:

    The abuses need to stop.
    This needs to be brought to the attention of the people who could show support to the whole family.

    She needs to be safe first.
    Do what you can to help her.
    She needs to be safe first.

    Abuses in the church needs to be confronted lovingly and confidentially.

    Do what you can to help this young person.

  3. andoi Says:

    I felt sorry for the kid.
    Even her parents cant control the rage of her big sister.
    It’s wild in here.
    Crazy!

    Shes now safe somewhere in a rented place.
    Her studies at stake.
    She should graduate this March.

    She’ll be having a part-time job in a dawn market to make up for her daily consumptions.
    Now that’s not safe for her.

    Why is this happening to her?
    She’s still too young.

    My concern would be if she would quit.
    I cant keep her. I wish I could.
    I cant shield her from all the abuses.

    I really dont know what to do man.

    She wants her family problems to be dealt in private, away from church intervention.

    Help!


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