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
In springtime, both eastern and western shepherds lead their sheep to high hills and mountain top plateaus for summer grazing. They choose the valleys for these long treks because they can better care for their sheep. The path to the high lands is not easy, and with very little sun reaching the valley floor, it can be a dark and cold place at times. Danger lurks in the cliffside as predators look for easy prey, and the shepherd is always on alert with his rod at the ready.
Although the valley trek can be difficult, it is also a place of streams, pools, fresh foliage and lush grass. The shepherd knows that as he walks with his sheep, they will find sustenance and strength along the arduous way.
There are valleys that we all must walk through and sometimes the shadows will feel very dark indeed, but with the Shepherd by our side, we can walk without fear. The path will be difficult and at times distressing, but if we trust Him to guide us, he will lead us to areas of rest and areas of refuge. During these times, He will increase our strength and fill us with courage that we might persevere through this period of hardship.
The path doesn’t stay in the valley forever. Slowly, but surely, it leads to higher ground where once again we can feel the warmth of the sun. When we are ready, the Shepherd can use this experience and lead us to others who are walking the same difficult valley path. By his grace, he can turn our inner pain into an outer comfort.
Be encouraged that, whatever you are currently facing, you are never alone, for the Lord walks every step with you, providing all that you need. We don’t stay in the valley; we walk through it.