“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

All of life on this earth is lived in the shadow of death, in this case David speaks of passing through the darkest of times of facing that fact, he is in the bottom of the valley where death looms all around him and seems to be blocking out all light and even seems to threaten to come down upon him from above, to engulf him. Life itself seems to keep providing us with reminders of just how fragile everything is; war, illness, injury, job loss, divorce, anger, and rejection are shouting at us from every corner of it.

It is inevitable that we will walk down the street where evil lives, the world is corrupted by sin and Satan has a powerful influence in it; he tries to confuse us and to cause us to lose hope and to then lose our focus on the Lord. As the valley floor becomes ever darker, in our worst times, we most need to keep a steady gaze fixed on God and the truths of our relationship with him; there will be no other light falling on the path that we need to take except for His.

As we stay close, perhaps closer than we have ever been before, to the Lord, David’s reality can become our own; we can truly fear not due to the comfort, protection, empathy, and guidance that God gives. The Lord provides the protection of his rod to drive away the forces, to defend against the blows of evil, and He provides his shepherd’s staff to show us the way through to the safety and the good pasture that is not only his promise to us but is also our birthright as children of God.