The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Since yesterday, I have had this passage on my mind.  It is not one I generally think about, so it struck me as peculiar (at first) that I would be reciting it in my mind:

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

It seems to me lately that I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death.  Death, pain, and sorrow surround me.  People are struggling everywhere.  Yet, I take new meaning in this psalm.  Usually, at least for myself, it was always metaphorical, referring to the spiritually dead in this world that seem to be “taking over.”  However, today this passage brings me new meaning.

As the solemnity of these things surround me, I notice a sort of inner peace.  At times I feel bad about it, that I possess this peace, because I know not everyone does.  Despite the pain and suffering that seem so prevalent these days, I find hope in God.  I find hope in God because I know He has it all under control.  I find hope that it is not up to me to control the outcome of situations.  I find hope and peace in the fact that these things do not happen without reason, even though I may not know what the reason is.

I was thinking yesterday of a sort of colloquialism that some people tend to repeat in times of strife: “things always happen in threes.”  It caused me to pause and ask, “what next?”  The answer: it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter because it’s not in my hands.  In recognizing God’s omnipotence and all encompassing love for us, it is not up to me to worry about the next thing coming, but rather to handle it with faith, love, and grace. Surely goodness and lovingkindnes will follow me all the days of my life.  What is there to fear or wonder in that?

He restores my soul. Does He restore yours?  Have you asked Him to?  What is it in your life today that you need God to heal or take care of?  What questions do you have for Him?  He wants to hear them!  He will anoint your head with oil so that your cup overflows.  He won’t do it if you don’t offer Him the cup though.

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