“Even 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.” (Psalm 23:4, ESV)
A common source of stress is loss. You can lose your job, your health, your money, your reputation, or a loved one. And when you add all the other challenges you have in life, it just amplifies the stress.
There are two common reactions to loss. One is fear, and the other is grief.
Grief is good. Grief is the way we get through the transitions of life. In fact, if you don’t grieve, you get stuck! Grief will not wreck you if you let it out.
Fear, on the other hand, can be a bad thing. Not once in the Bible does it say, “Grieve not,” “Sorrow not,” “Weep not,” or “Cry not.” It does say, “Fear not.” And it says that 365 times! Grief doesn’t paralyze us, but fear does.
In Psalm 23:4, David says, “Even 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” (ESV).
David knew shepherds always carried a rod and a staff to protect their sheep. And he knew God had the power to protect him. So David trusted God, even in the darkest valleys.
If you’re going through a dark valley and you’re under a lot of stress, you can choose to trust God. He is faithful even in the shadows, where things may not make sense and where it can seem like a long, long way out of the valley.
But here’s the good news to remember about big, scary shadows. You can’t have a shadow without light. If you see a shadow, that means there is a light shining nearby.
When you’re going through the valley of the shadow, the key is to turn your back on the shadow and look at the light. Because as long as you keep your eyes on the Light — Jesus, the Light of the World — the shadow won’t scare you.
Just like David, trust God in the dark valleys and pray, “When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn” (Psalm 142:3, NLT).
Lord, I look to You, O Lord, to strengthen me the whole day. I turn to Your light to guide me and protect me, especially when I am troubled. I know You are always with me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.