“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;” Psalm 23:4a
Few of us like change. Yet, ironically, it’s one of the few constants in life. The place and situation you’re in today may not be the same in a year, or even tomorrow. Psalm 23 certainly paints a picture of changing circumstances. Although the Lord guides us to green pastures and still waters, the “paths of righteousness” don’t always take us through comfortable places. When facing a dark valley, we need to remember that we’re only walking through.
This world is not our home and its circumstances are not our final destination. The Great Shepherd guides us through the valley. He is our constant in the midst of changing or difficult circumstances. The Shepherd will never take us through places He has not already been. Because He knows the valley well, we can follow in faith rather than stop in fear.
Of course, fear is natural when we’re in a dark place. It’s been said that fear is to Satan what faith is to God. Faith does God’s work while fear does Satan’s work. The enemy capitalizes on our fear of the unknown to isolate and manipulate. He wants us to doubt God’s presence and to feel hopeless when we’re faced with adversity.
Fear can be paralyzing. It draws our focus away from the Shepherd and onto our surroundings, where shadows are always shifting. Keep in mind that shadows need light in order to exist. So, even in “the shadow of death” there is the substance of light. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12).
The key then, to walking through the valley is to keep our eyes on the Shepherd, “for You are with me.” Because sheep don’t have great eyesight, their proximity to the shepherd is crucial, especially in dark places. Likewise, the closer we are to Jesus the more we trust Him to lead us through the valley.
Are you currently in a dark place? Don’t stop in fear. Keep walking in faith. The Shepherd knows your particular valley and has already defeated the enemy. When circumstances change, you can trust that Jesus, our Good and Great Shepherd, will never change and will never leave. Follow Him closely. He will guide you through the valley.