Even when I must walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff reassure me.
In the valley of shadows, dark and ominous, when nothing is clear and the threat of danger breathes down our neck, when the mind is clogged with fear and anxiety overwhelms us, we may lose our balance and sense of direction and begin to question: where is my life going? Where is this experience taking me? Why do I have to be here and for how long? How far do I have left to go before things become clear?
We may walk with hesitancy, unsure of what is before us, when we are blindsided by unexpected shadows: the argument we never saw coming, sending us adrift from the people we trusted; the unplanned expenses that cleaned out your savings; when plan C was our only remaining option and it fails to launch, pushing us back to the drawing board with zero ideas. These are just some of the valley experiences, so how do we get through them?
David’s analogy of his spiritual walk in Psalm 23 is one of the most comforting scriptures in the bible. It leaves me wonder if David’s confidence in His Shepherd through the valley was built on having been with the Shepherd on the mountain and other terrain. Did the light of the mountain experience prepare David for the darkness of the valley? In the darkness and the threatening shadows, the rod and staff, nudged him along, reminding him to keep moving, to go through it, and most importantly that he was never alone.
In my valley of uncertainty, I find that I must rely on my mountain experiences, not just the memory of them, but on the strength and insight which were preparing me for valley days. I recall the scriptures I read, and songs of worship and praise. This is how I am reassured that my Shepherd is familiar with this valley and that He has not left me to figure things out by myself. Regardless of how out of control things appear, He is guiding us. In the dark when you can see no one else, be reminded that there is in fact ‘a flock’ some ahead – already finding the sunlight and the pastures green; others behind – counting on your experience to build their confidence and courage to come through the valley, to keep moving forward.
Prayer/Journal: Father I thank you that you are always with me. I appreciate the reminder that my mountaintop experiences prepared me for the valley; I am confident You will take me through because your presence never leaves me.
Today, We can say with confidence, like David: “even though I go through…I am not afraid, You are with me”.
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