COMFORT IN TRIALS
Walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and Not Fearing Evil
Psa. 23:4 Even though I walk / Through the valley of the shadow of death, / I do not fear evil, / For You are with me; / Your rod and Your staff, / They comfort me.
Walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death
yet Not Being frightened
We who have been following Him for years can tell you that the further we go, the more difficult the situation becomes. The third station is the valley of the shadow of death. I know that you like the green pastures; you do not like the valley of the shadow of death. The valley is not at the top but at the bottom; it is not the shining but the shadow; it is not the life but the death. You would like to stay in the green pastures with the waters of rest, but sooner or later you will enter the valley. Regardless of how much we help you to stay on top, you will descend to the valley. You will pass through the valley of the shadow of death. I know you will. But do not be frightened; listen to what the psalmist says: “Even though I walk / Through the valley of the shadow of death, / I do not fear evil, / For You are with me”. If you have ever observed a shepherd with his flock in various situations, you know that when the flock is lying in the green pastures, the shepherd may leave for a while or remain at a distance. But when the flock is passing through the valley with its shadows, he is so near and protective. When you are passing through the valley of the shadow of death, the Shepherd is nearer to you than ever before. (CWWL, 1969, vol. 3, “Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms,” msg. 5 )
Experiencing the Lord’s Presence
Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we do not fear evil, for the pneumatic Christ is with us (2 Tim. 4:22). This means that we experience His presence. For Him to be with us is for us to enjoy His presence. His presence is a comfort, a rescue, and a sustaining power to us when we are walking in the valley of the shadow of death.
We human beings cannot avoid having troubles as we live on this earth. A husband’s wife who takes care of him and the children may suddenly become so ill that she is unable to walk. Then this brother gets into the valley, which is under a shadow and full of death. Some saints may have children who are crippled. This brings these saints into the valley. These are examples of the valley of the shadow of death.
Our resting in the Lord will shorten the valley, reduce the shadow, and remove the death. We should not talk about our being in the valley. The more we talk, the wider the valley becomes. The best way is for us to forget that we are in the valley, because we have the Lord with us. We do not fear evil, because He is with us. Second Timothy 4:22 says that the Lord is with our spirit. The Lord is not merely within us in a general way, but He is in our spirit in a particular way. If we have had the proper experience in the valley, we can testify that it was a place for us to enjoy the Lord’s presence in such a close way.
The Lord’s Rod and His Staff Comforting Us
In the valley of the shadow of death, the Lord’s rod and His staff—His protection, His guidance, and His sustenance—comfort us. The rod is for protection. If a wolf comes, the shepherd uses his rod to protect the flock. The staff is for training, for direction, for guidance, and also for sustenance. The Lord has the rod to protect us, and He has the staff to train us, to instruct us, to guide us, and to sustain us. We experience the Lord’s protection and guiding in the valley of the shadow of death. (Life-study of Psalms, msg. 11)
Lord Jesus, thank You to be my shepherd, shepherding me with all-inclusive, tender care. Now You are the Spirit and abide in me. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I do not fear evil, for You are with me. O, Lord, let me learn to rest in You and experience your protection, leading, and support, enjoying your comfort in every circumstance.