Have you walked through the valley of the shadow of death?
Psalm 23 is probably the most used scripture in the Bible. Usually it is read during a funeral and speaks of physical death. As with most of God's Word, the psalm has a multi-dimensional meaning. One meaning is trust. This psalm is a song of trust in God.
I've started this paragraph over several times trying to say what is in my spirit. Finally I have come to the conclusion I need to tell it from my own life first. I've been through many valleys of death in my life. Loss of a loved one, not only through physical death, years of periodic strife, stress and heartache, many of which had an impact on my physical health....I could go on to other, shorter periods when I walked through a valley. Some are intense. Some less so, but they are all dark.
These walks changed me, which is what God means them to do. In those valleys I had His rod of correction as well as defense. His staff gave me the support and power I needed to make it through. I was comforted knowing He was with me. And when the time was over I came out lifted up over those enemies that would steal my faith in Him. I dined at His table of grace, filled with the knowledge that I had received His goodness and mercy in the midst of the darkness. The remembrance of His Presence with me in those dark days is always with me.
I believe the valley of the shadow of death is necessary in our walk with God. The death is that of Self--the part of Self that rebels against God. I thank Him for caring for me enough to walk me through my valleys.