Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. -Psalm 23:4 NASB
In the darkest of times. In moments of utter despair. I have felt God's comfort. His Spirit works both in and through us. Sometimes He comes with a quiet whisper from within. At other times by an encouraging word from a friend. In my darkest of valleys God always seems to be present. It is hard to read this verse and not remember this time in my life:
At thirty-nine years old my first wife, Ellen, had heart and kidney failure. At the brink of her death I found myself begging God to not let her die. I could not accept her situation or the possibility of her death. Three and a half years later after praying almost daily for her healing I found myself again faced with the possibility of her dying. Driving to work one day, racked with the agony of thoughts of a world without Ellen, I began to pray. I saw a picture in my mind. In this vision I saw myself standing on a mountain looking down at a valley. Somehow I knew it was the valley of the shadow of Ellen's death. As I looked into the vision I saw Jesus come to my side, take my hand, and walk with me into the valley. It was a comforting picture. God was trying to tell me that he would be with me when Ellen died and that I would be okay.When I am at my lowest God is there. Beside me. Teaching me. To not be afraid. To experience his presence. To trust his rod and his staff to protect me when my world is falling apart. To lean into his comfort. However it may come.
Teach us to not be afraid Lord. Help us to experience the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit.
... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on words in the bible.