Everyone at some time or another will walk through some very scary times in life. When things in life go so very wrong and the outcome could potentially be very bleak, the Scripture so poetically calls this place ‘the valley of the shadow of death’ – a lonely, dark, seemingly hopeless place where death’s shadow seems to hover over you and it feels heavy; and although you may have friends and family with you, there remains a deep loneliness which causes you to feel isolated even in the cheeriest crowd.
When you read this Psalm, you can sense the forward motion of the journey. In verse 3 he ‘leads’ the sheep, in verse 4 he ‘walks through’ the valley, in verse 6 goodness and mercy ‘follow’ him. You should never remain in this valley. This is not the destination, only a point along the journey and a very important one. None of us wish difficulty in our lives, but it is inevitable because of the nature of life. In these times when we feel loneliness and hopelessness we will be more aware of the all-sufficiency of our Shepherd. When no one else can do one more thing to help your situation and you fall into the arms of your Shepherd wholeheartedly, you begin to get healing for your soul.
Knowing there are no quick fixes to remove the heaviness of your heart you find it so much easier to come to God and receive from Him and He will never disappoint. Like David you will be able to say, “For You are with me,” because you will have felt His presence personally. You will know experientially that you are not alone. And when you are through to the other side of the valley, your relationship with the Lord will be richer for having gone through it, hand in hand with your Shepherd.
Isaiah 41:13, NIV
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”