Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
In our study of Ps. 23, last Sunday we reflected on vs. 4 – “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
The valleys David was familiar with in ancient Israel were not the kind we have here in Switzerland – lush, green valleys, with picturesque mountains surrounding them, perhaps a stream of clear water meandering through it. The valleys David knew from his time as a shepherd were more like deep, sharp, and rugged chasms, what we might call a ravine or crevice. They were narrow with steep, jagged sides. They were dangerous places, especially for sheep. Snakes and fierce predators could be hiding in the shadows of these valleys, ready to attack the sheep.
In life, we face some dark valleys as well, experiences that may threaten our well-being. But as David wrote, we can be sure that the Lord our Shepherd is with us during those difficult times. Furthermore, those threatening experience might be just what we need to move to a deeper levelin our relationship with the Lord. Phillip Keller writes:
“As Christians we will sooner or later discover that it is in the valleys of our lives that we find refreshment from God Himself. It is not until we have walked with Him through some very deep trouble that we discover He can lead us to find our refreshment in Him right there in the midst of our difficulty.”
Often it is in the valleys of life that we draw closer to God, for that is when we are keenly aware of our need for God. And then we can be sure that we will encounter God, His re-assuring love and His transforming power. Then we know His presence, faithfulness, and love. In the valleys, God shapes and forms us, helping us to grow in our faith and become mature disciples of Jesus. There He refreshes our soul.
While the valleys we face may be difficult, we need never fear, for we do not go through the valley alone. Our Good Shepherd is with us, leading us, protecting us, and transforming us.
Grace and peace,