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.
I bet you’ve been in that valley, haven’t you? I think we all have at one time or other. I said a few days ago how I felt like I was in a tunnel, unable to see the light at either end, and I would imagine that the valley mentioned in today’s verse is much like that. The dark valley can be a scary place to be, and it can feel like threats are encroaching from either side. Sometimes you know what those threats are – perhaps difficulties at work or a troubled relationship – but at other times those threats might be unknown. Those are perhaps the most scary – we know that they’re there, but we can’t see them and don’t know what they are. We just have that instinctive feeling that at any moment something is going to jump out at us from the dark and knock us off track. The temptation is to cower in the valley, and hope that one day the end will come to us.
It seems at the time that hiding is the best solution to our difficulty; after all, if nothing can see us, surely we have nothing to fear? Yet that logic is flawed; how can you hide in an already dark valley? What we need to do instead is march on with confidence, battling through the troubles and difficulties, realising that sooner or later we will reach the light once more.
The Psalmist once again inspires us with hope and confidence. Even when we are in that deep, dark valley, God is still with us. He is walking alongside us, and what’s more, he is equiped to tackle any threats that come our way. No matter what circumstances jump out at us, no matter what baddies, God is equipped with a rod and a staff, and is well prepared to defend us. Indeed, there is absolutely nothing that can threaten us when we walk with God; he is, after all, the supreme power of the universe! We can draw comfort from God’s presence, and the understanding that he will protect us against any evil that might come our way.
I know that this verse has, in particular, been massively important to me over the last few months. I pray that you will gain comfort from it too.