“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 NIV)
For a long time, I considered the dark deathlike valleys in my life to be just the hard things imposed on me by life circumstances outside of my control. I am currently walking alongside my husband of 14 years through a dark valley caused by an unintentional mistake he made.
What a different dark valley this is! Several Christian and Jewish bible expositors understand the rod and staff mentioned in verse 4 to refer to tools a shepherd might carry; the rod used as a defense against wild animals and a means for disciplining the sheep and the staff used as a guiding crook.
When I read Psalm 23:4 with its author in mind: David, a man with one moral failure after the next but remembered as a man after God’s own heart, the passage speaks to me in a different way. God loved and comforted David in the dark valleys even when David’s choices put him there. The idea of experiencing comfort in both God’s guiding and correction has deeply ministered to my soul as I reflect on the consequences my husband and our family may face. I don’t know what dark valley you have walked through or are currently facing. But I do know and have personally experienced that God is good. He is working all things for our good and as I walk through the darkest valley of my life so far, I invite you to praise Him with me. No matter the outcome of our situation, He is so worthy of our praise.
Questions to Ponder:
God, you are sovereign. You are Lord. You are our comforting shepherd with a rod as your Holy Spirit convicts us and you are our comforting shepherd with a staff as you guide us in love, forgiveness and grace. What a perfect shepherd you are to us, Jesus. You give us each what we need when we need it in order to shape us more and more into your likeness. We love you and praise your name forever. Amen
- Have you ever experienced comfort from God in a season of correction?
- Have you ever been tempted to believe that God would leave you in your valley alone, if you were there by your own choices?
- How can you be intentional about worshipping God no matter the season you are in and no matter what mountains stand before you?
Prayer of Response:
—Submitted by Erinne La Brie
Erinne and her husband, Travis live in Klamath Falls, Oregon where they are raising their four kids: Charlotte (9), Benjamin (5), William (4) and Wyatt (1). She is a pastor and lifelong learner of what it means to trust God, and live a life fueled by love and grace.