Walking Through the Dark Valleys

Kim and I had an amazing trip to Israel a few years ago. The Bible came alive in 3-D. When you stand on a particular hill in Jerusalem, you see a road that twists and turns through the hills, starting in Jerusalem and ending in Jericho. The valley below is known as “the valley of the shadow of death,” aka, “the dark valleys.” The name came about for a couple of reasons.

First, the hillsides and valleys below are quite barren, without much vegetation at all. The way the sun casts shadows upon the desert soil prohibits food from growing. From a sustenance perspective, this is death valley.

Second, the shadows that fall upon the roadway make the paths very dark. This especially impacted the foot-travelers in the days the Bible was written. Robbers and thieves would wait to ambush. It was about this very road that Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, the man who courageously cared for another man who had been badly beaten by robbers. Upon this road, risk of death lurked around every bend in the road: the valley of the shadow of death, a very dark valley.

During your life you will go through dark valleys from time to time, and maybe even for seasons or years. The loss of a job, the death of a loved one, broken relationships, financial struggles, and health crises are some of the valleys you might face.

David knew what it was like to walk through dark valleys. This shepherd-turned-king declared to the Lord:

Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff — they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4 HCSB)

Notice some truths about this verse.

The Lord could have said to us, “As you approach the dark valley, don’t be afraid because I am here at the start of the road and I will watch you go through. In that way I will protect you.” And we would say, “Thank you, Lord. That is enough.”

The Lord could have said to us, “As you approach the dark valley, don’t be afraid because I will go ahead of you. Then I will look back and watch out for you. In that way I will protect you.” And we would say, “Thank you, Lord. That is enough.”

The Lord could have said to us, “As you walk through the dark valley, I will hover above you and watch out for you. In that way I will protect you.” And we would say, “Thank you, Lord. That is enough.”

And it is true that the Lord — who is omnipresent — goes before us, protects us from the start, and watches over us. But he doesn’t stop there.

The Lord walks with you through the dark valleys.

When you go through difficulties in life, those times that you would describe as “dark valleys,” you can know that the Lord is walking with you. He protects you, cares for you, guides you, and comforts you, just like a shepherd cares for his sheep.

Thank you, Lord, you are more than enough!

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