Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 KJV

The valley of the shadow of death. I love the twenty third chapter of the book of Psalms, from the beginning declaration "the LORD is my Shepherd", to the ending words of comfort "I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed and don't exactly know where to turn in the Bible for direction, I just read those verses over and over again. Those words have never been a bad place to start, the verses are filled with reminders of God's sovereignty and His goodness. 

The words of the fourth verse have firmly planted themselves in my head these last few weeks and they have grown stronger with each passing day. 

The more life that unfolded around me, the more difficult situations that appeared, the more overwhelmed I felt...the more I found those words running through my mind. 

I have to be honest, I didn't want them there, they annoyed me. I don't want to "walk through the valley of the shadow of death."

I don't want to walk in dark places.

No one does.

But we do.

Often it feels as if some of us walk in those places more frequently than others.

Having a child with a disability who also has communication challenges can bring a whole new level of stress to already stressful medical situations. Sometimes we are just cruising along our journey so smoothly that when we hit a bump in the road or take a left turn I am momentarily disoriented. Maybe this happens to you too? 

As we were faced with an issue recently, I was glaringly reminded of the fact that my child can not tell me if he is in pain. He can not tell me if he is having difficulty breathing and he can not tell me if he feels like a seizure is coming.

An overwhelming sense of panic and fear.

It gripped me and I have struggled to free myself. I struggled as hard as I had been struggling  to get away from that verse.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

I realized the other morning that I had not slowed my mind and my heart enough to take time to read my Bible in days. I sat down and just took a moment to close my eyes, clear my head and catch my breath. I thought, "where do I start..."

Immediately, I knew.

What I needed to remember was right there all along, playing over and over again in my head.

We are going to walk in some dark places, we will be afraid and we will become so overwhelmed with life at times that we forget. We forget to trust God, to remember His words and His promises.

God knows that.

He wants you to remember, He wants you to know.

Even though you are walking through dark places, even as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you have nothing to fear. You may not be where you want to be, but you are not alone, you are held by God.

I encourage you, if you are not already familiar with the 23rd Psalm, get familiar with it. It will bring comfort to you. It will remind you, and it will at times annoy you when parts of it become stuck in your head, unknowingly preparing you for what lies ahead...

unseen by us...

but known to God.

He's good like that.

So I want to pray for us all today:

God we are grateful and we thank you. You know that we are scared and overwhelmed and tired. So many times we don't even have words to come to you with, but you know our hearts and our needs, and you provide the words where we have none. Great peace and strength comes from knowing your provision and God I pray that each and every person reading these words, every heart that is scared for their child, that feels alone and unsure of the place they have found themselves in, God I pray that they are strengthened by your words and filled with peace in knowing you are with them, even in the darkest of places. Amen.



  1. This is terrific, Beth...I often have that overwheming sense of panic as well, and the comfort of scripture is undeniable. It is a light that chases away the darkest parts of the darkest valleys. When I'm busy reciting scripture, I forget to "practice" my scary fearful situations that anxiety likes to put into my head. ;) Thanks for this peace of wisdom.

    1. Thank you for your understanding Tammie. I love the idea of replacing those fearful situations that play through our mind with scripture, it is comforting.

  2. Thank you for the encouragement. 🕇❤

    1. Thank you Denie, I hope you are doing well?