The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death
Part 4 Psalms 23:4… “Yea, 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. Yikes…the valley of the shadow of death does not sound fun…
If you’ve lived more than five minutes you understand that this life if full of hard things. No one is immune from hardship like it or not. Some of the hard stuff is from our own mistakes resulting in consequences, and other things are at the hand of another person. Those.are.really.hard.
No matter how they come difficulties are, well…difficult. Babies die, our spouses leave us for other people, addiction affects a family member, a baby is born with special needs etc. Stuff hits us from left field sometimes and it just takes a bit to rebound. How do we make it though that kind of pain?
We have to go through but we can do it because He is with us. When we know the God of the Bible as our God, we have His word to stand and rely on. We know we can trust Him to be with us and we don’t have to fear whatever comes because He saw it coming first and has what we need to get through it.
I’ve made it through some pretty nasty stuff and I really don’t know how people who don’t know Jesus do it. Some stuff nearly took me out, without Jesus close by and knowing His word I really am not sure I could have survived. While we may survive, HOW we come out of trouble is another story.
We can come out on the other side with our faith intact and in better shape or we can come out alive but maimed and broken. Sometimes we don’t make it through in great shape but we can always go to Him after and get what we need to overcome the residue of the trauma. Knowing He never leaves or forsakes me in my pain is everything. As a good shepherd He stays with me, watching over the trial as I pass through.
In Bible days the shepherd used a rod, a two to four foot club for defending the sheep from predators and robbers. It was worn in their belt and may have resembled a walking stick but was a weapon or tool to provide safety for the flock. I believe the Holy Spirit is our rod today. His job is to defend me, warn me of danger in a situation, and to help me understand what I need to do. It’s vital that I stay close to Him, listening for His voice for not only what to do but when. Timing is everything.
The staff they used was to hold the sheep during shearing and for gentle correction or re-directing. The hook at the top end of the staff was fit around the neck or head of the sheep to re-route them. At the bottom end of the staff was a spoon-shaped “shovel”. If the sheep wandered a bit from the herd, the shepherd would scoop up a bit of mud or dirt and flick it at the sheep that had drifted to catch its attention; hey the rest of the group is over here, there is safety within the herd.
I don’t know about you but I’ve felt that staff around my heart gently pulling me away from certain people or a bad situation. I’ve had God’s Spirit redirect me and correct me. His Word is a big tool He uses to correct us. As we read and learn it, it will come up in our spirits when we need it, giving us guidance and confirmation just at the right time.
When that has happened it has been sooooo comforting to know He’s right there with me, He sees me in this and has my answer. When we are in the middle of a storm, sometimes His direction feels like silence. Because there are times when we need to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. We don’t need to do anything but stand. Those may be the hardest times because we want so bad to fix it or make it go away.
But only He knows the duration of the problem, and He knows how long we need to stay in the storm for our hidden junk to be revealed and be torn lose. The storm isn’t always a bad thing, although it feels like it. The tornado hitting your life tearing up stuff can also be exposing what must be exposed to make you whole. Like surgery, God often needs to cut some diseased stuff away to save your life. And it can hurt.
The Holy Spirit will let you know at some point if it’s an attack from the enemy or if it’s God using what the devil meant for your harm and He’s turning it for your good. Don’t worry about it, His rod and His staff will comfort and guide you all the way through, so you do not need to fear.