Sometimes it occurs to me that in many ways the “valley of the shadow of death” that David was moved of the Spirit to record in the 23rd Psalm is a pretty good description of this world. We have many great experiences and there is so much beauty around us that we lose awareness sometimes of the reality that there is always only a step between ourselves and death. From my vantage point as a pastor of almost 43 years, this reality presses very close to my heart. A by product of ministry is that you know thousands of people. You also know a high percentage of them fairly well. You have wept with them, prayed with them, walked with them through trials, heard their stories, and had many of them share sorrows that very few others will ever know. From time to time someone asks me how we do what we do in ministry. The answer is in the next phrase of the Psalm, “For thou art with me.” Without the strong arms of the Lord, none of us could deal with this valley.
Two observations are helpful. It is only a shadow and a shadow can’t hurt you. God always has the last word and he will chase the shadows away in the glorious brightness of his presence, and in the coming glory of his Kingdom. Secondly, we will emerge on the other side of valley at the place where we have been heading all our lives and the former things will have passed away. Because of these things we keep singing in the shadows and celebrating the love and grace of our Lord who comforts us in our nights of weeping and provides us joy in the morning.