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. Psalm 23:4
As you get older you sense that a journey through the “valley of the shadow of death” is imminent. Absent fighting a war as a young man, like my dad did in his late teens, threats in early life don’t normally involve death. There are some “dark and gloomy days” that I can remember. The prospect of losing a job while supporting a wife and four children. Some times of uncertain health. The failing health of my parents. But I was not in death’s shadow. But that day will come.
The key words here are “even though.” Whatever the threat, with the Lord at your side, you have no reason to fear. This should be like the feeling you had as a child while walking with your dad in an eerie place. You weren’t scared because he was strong and he’d protect you. Truth is, once the shoe was on the other foot, you find that your dad was probably a bit concerned too!
But the Lord our shepherd carries a big stick to ward off the wild animals out there, and it’s just something about that staff that shouts out the power to save and dictate our circumstances.