The Darkest Valley

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

Canyon in Death Valley National Park. Image by Simon Lucas.

A few years ago I found myself in a job that I hated. The bleakness of my situation drove me into despair and depression. At the time it felt almost as if I was in a tunnel, unable to see the light at either end. I felt like there were enemies all around me, plotting my downfall. I had no idea how to escape from that truly horrible situation. Of course, the reality of human life is that at some point most, if not all of us, will experience times like this. It might be that we find ourselves, like I did, stuck in a job that we don’t like, or in a bad relationship, or battling addictions or facing an uncertain economic future. Whatever the nature of our circumstances, the result is often similar – we feel as if life is dark, depressing, and uncomfortable.

It is times like this that the Psalmist points us to in this famous verse from the Psalm. David describes these times as a ‘valley’. When we’re in that valley the temptation might be to cower away in the corner, hoping that the end will come to us. Hiding can seem like the best solution.

That logic is flawed, however. What point is there in hiding in a 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 equipped to tackle any threats that come our way. No matter what circumstances jump out at us, no matter what enemies, 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.

David said in Psalm 23 that he fears no evil for God is with him. Jesus is not only with us, but he paid the ultimate price and died to protect us from evil, and to ensure that we have a bright future ahead of us in heaven when we die.

David trusted that God would protect him at the darkest times of his life, and said with confidence, “the Lord is my shepherd.” I wonder if we can trust in God lead us through our dark times and say, “the Lord is OUR shepherd?”

As featured on Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Inspirational Breakfast’.

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Listen to this Thought of the Day:

I will fear no evil

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.

Psalm 23:4

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.