Summary: If you're currently walking through the valley of the shadow of death, here are a few things to remember.
I'm currently walking through one of life's deep, deep valleys. While walking through the valley of the shadow of death, there are a few things I want to remember.
1. "The Lord is my shepherd." Nobody else is. He chose me first and in response I choose Him every day. He is my best friend, and Savior.
2. "I shall not want." There are two ways I understand this. a. All the advertising in the world tempts me to want, but I refuse. I'm satisfied with what God has given me. b. I have no real needs. I'm not in want of anything, because my shepherd has supplied all I need.
3. "He makes me to lie down in green pastures." The mountain tops take my breath away. They are majestic, but the valley is where the food is. So, even though this time in the valley is scary, I'm here for spiritual nourishment. I submit to the Great Shepherd of my soul, and feed on sumptuous green grass.
4. "He leads me beside the still waters." My shepherd knows how noisy waters might scare me. I'm skittish, and He knows I need to drink, but He makes sure that I can drink of the water of life somewhere quiet.
6. "He restores my soul." He's not worried if others have slandered and lied about me. I have brothers and sisters who have given their lives this very week for our common faith. It's our souls that He's most concerned about. I must remember that a time like this in the valley is primarily for soul restoration.
7. "He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake." He's not concerned with my damaged reputation. That will be restored in His good time. It's His name that must be announced, not because He's an ego maniac, but because there is no other name under heaven whereby men may be saved.
8. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." So in this valley of despair and trial, I must learn to fear no evil. That's my intent. That's God's purpose for me down here.
9. "For You are with me." Yes, Lord, though I feel all alone, I'm not. You are with me.
10. "Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." The rod of your correction of my sins and of protection from the wolves that attack me, and the staff that rescues me from pitfalls, are both a comfort to my soul, knowing who lovingly wields them.
11. "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." Amazing to remember that here in this valley is a fabulous spiritual feast. My enemies all around must be jealous as they look on at the sumptuous meal you prepared for me right here in this dark and scary valley.
12. "You anoint my head with oil." Some say that I'm no longer one of the anointed ones, and like unwanted trash have been tossed onto the rubbish heap of history. Yet YOU anoint me. I don't need the anointing of men or worldly institutions. I have all the anointing I need.
13. "My cup runs over." In the midst of this dark valley of despair and depression, I must remember that your gifts are far more generous than any that this world affords. When you give, there is no hint of stinginess, or holding something back, like the world pretentiously gives. You fill to overflowing.
14. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." The valley only seems dark and scary because I'm looking with physical eyes. When I look with spiritual eyes what do I see? I see goodness and mercy. Thank you Lord!
15. "And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Where else would I want to be? Yes, the other sheep in the sheep fold are faulty, just like me, but this is the house of the Lord. He is here. That's where I want to be forever. Where two or three are gathered in Your name, You are there.