The Valley of the Shadow of Death

  • Sept. 4, 2015
  • #8700

Walking through the valley of the shadow of death with our Good Shepherd encourages deeper dependence on the Lord and strengthens our faith.

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a good word about Psalm 23.

It really is a favorite, isn’t it, of so many Christians. So comforting, so encouraging; how our Good Shepherd leads us beside still waters and down paths of righteousness and how He restores our souls. But then there’s that scary part – the place where it says “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve thought about that verse in Psalm 23 when I was battling stage three cancer. My mastectomy did not guarantee that they “got everything”, in fact, the doctors had to take out a bunch of lymph nodes because the cancer was beginning to spread. I remember waking up in recovery after my operation and my doctor came over to my bedside. I had to ask him the question that everyone wonders, and so I said to him: “Did you get everything? Did you get all the cancer?” That’s when he got a serious look and explained that no; there was no guarantee of that because my lymph nodes were involved. When he left my bedside, I started reciting Psalm 23, but when I got to that part about walking through the valley of the shadow of death, well, that’s when it struck me: God had led me into a very scary place.

And I know you have been in scary places. Places where the medical report was somber, or the accident was serious, or the tumor or the obstruction or the mass was pretty grim. Those are scary places and we wonder just why our Good Shepherd would even lead us into such a dark valley! But that’s where faith has a chance to grow and become strong. I mean, if Jesus died for us – and He did – if He laid down His life for us, then shouldn’t He know best how to preserve and protect and strengthen our souls? Jesus died to save us from having to suffer hell, but He did not die to save us from suffering on earth. Because it is in those dark, scary valleys where His grace is abundant, and His presence is especially near. It’s where our need of Him becomes more desperate, and our dependence on Him becomes urgent. The scary valleys are a place, as I said, where faith has a chance to grow and become strong.

And friend, that’s exactly what happened in my battle against cancer. Even though I had to go through the valley of the shadow of death, I came out the other side with my soul all the stronger for it. It’s like the old saying goes, “If God brings you to it, then He will bring you through it” and that’s exactly what happened to me. Whether or not my cancer ever comes back is not the issue, the point is walking through that valley did a world of good for my soul (something the Shepherd had in mind all along).

You know, there’s so much more to say about Psalm 23, especially this verse about the valley of the shadow of death. It’s why I hope you’ll visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and ask for your free gift of the pamphlet “Psalm 23”. It is full of rich and deep insights about this special Psalm, and it’s something you might want to give to someone you know who is battling cancer or who is in the hospital for a time. Believe me, a small gift like this which is so easy to read will provide encouragement and comfort. So visit joniandfriends.org today and ask for your free copy. And remember, for whatever problem you’re facing: if God brings you to it, friend, He will bring you through it.

Photo: Themes.com

© Joni and Friends

 

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