Tuesday, January 8, 2019
In the Valley of the Shadow, Look to the Light
In review of Psalm 23:4 it says, “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” (ESV).
Today’s verse is Psalm 23:4. In it David tells me how he may walk through valleys as dark as death, but won’t be afraid. For you (God) are with me, and your shepherd’s rod and staff make me feel safe.
God is a caring shepherd and a dependable guide. I must follow him and obey his commands. He is my only hope for eternal life and security.
Death casts a frightening shadow over all of us, because we are entirely helpless in its presence. I can struggle with other enemies; pain, suffering, disease, injury, but strength and courage cannot overcome death. It has the final word. Only one person can walk me through death's dark valley and bring me safely to the other side; the God of my life, my shepherd. Because life is uncertain, I should follow this shepherd who offers me eternal comfort.
Loss is a common source of stress. You can lose your job, your health, your money, your reputation, or a loved one.
When going through loss, there are typically two common reactions: One is fear, and the other is grief. Grief is good. Grief is the way we get through the transitions of life. In fact, if I don’t grieve, I’ll get stuck! Grief will not kill me if I let it out.
On the other hand, fear is a bad thing. Not once does the Bible say, “Grieve not,” “Mourn not,” “Weep not,” or “Cry not.” What it does say is, “Fear not.” And it says that 365 times! Grief doesn’t paralyze, but fear does.
David says in Psalm 23:4, “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” (ESV). Shepherds always carried a rod and a staff to protect their sheep. David knew that in the same way, God has the tools to protect him, and he trusted God, even in the darkest valleys.
Shadows are scary. But here are a few things about shadows that I was reminded of this morning:
First, shadows can’t hurt me.
Second, shadows are always bigger than the source.
There is some good news: Wherever there’s a shadow, there has to be a light. You can’t have a shadow without light. So the key when you’re going through the valley of the shadow is to turn your back on the shadow and look at the light. Because as long as you keep your eyes on the light—Jesus, the light of the world—the shadow won’t scare you.
That’s how I should go through the valley of the shadow of death. That’s how I lower my stress. I must trust God in the dark valleys, just like David, who prayed, “When I am ready to give up, he knows what I should do” (Psalm 142:3 GNT).
God the ultimate shepherd is there close beside, to guard and guide me.
What this means to me:
Even when I walk through the dark valley of death or any other scary situation I have no reason to be afraid, for you my God and shepherd are close beside me, guarding and , guiding all the way.
In summary, I will encounter dark valleys, but I should not be afraid. For God is there with me, his shepherd's rod and staff should make me feel safe. Only one person can walk me through the darkest valleys and bring me safely to the other side. Loss is a common source of stress. When going through stress there are typically two common reactions: One if fear and the other is grief. Grief is the way we get through the transitions of life. Grief will not kill me if I let it out. Fear on the other hand is a bad thing. The Bible tells me to "fear not" over and over again. When it comes to shadows, they can't hurt me and the shadow will always be bigger than the source. Also, where ever there's a shadow, there has to be light. You can't have a shadow without light. The key to is turn my back on the shadow and look to the light (Jesus.)
Today Father I pray for your assistance and the reminder via the Holy Spirit to look to you when a shadow of fear arises. I also ask for your continued wisdom and guidance in managing my job, leading the team and interacting with others. I ask this through your Son Jesus Christ name, amen!
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