Even though I walk through a very dark valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
~ Psalm 23:4
"Some days are just harder than others, and some moments just will take you to a place you have never been before."
"The valley of the shadow of death doesn't even have a sign to let you know when you are about to enter it, but you certainly realize where you are when you have a day like today."
There are all kinds of ways that people describe the valley that we all know at one time or another. The valley the psalmist describes as the "valley of death," is the same valley that I have heard described as the "valley of life's struggles," "times when I am troubled," and "days when I feel I have lost my way and my faith at the same time."
I agree with the woman who shared with me yesterday that she wished she had known when her mother had entered the valley of the shadow of death. I asked her what she would have done differently, or how she would have prepared herself?
"I'm not exactly sure. I just think I could have prepared myself better," she shared.
I'm not sure if any of us are really ready to face days when we find that we are surrounded by things that seem to overshadow us. The need for us to trust in God's presence is also the need for us to be reminded that the darkest of situations cannot overtake the light of Christ.
Years ago I learned an important lesson in my own spiritual life when I entered a very dark time. I encountered darkness like I had never experienced before, and while I made the journey I had to intentionally look to see God's light, but I could also recognize that the light was surrounded by darkness. We are taught at an early age that darkness cannot overcome the light. A single match can illuminate an entire room, and a small amount of faith can displace an entire mountain!
Our need to be reminded of that presence is the very reason why dark valleys exists in the words of the psalm. It helps us to remember that our steps, even in perceived darkness, are guided by God when we simply trust in that guidance.
But getting to that place takes a willingness to be vulnerable and an ability to allow God to lead. It is in these times of trouble, struggles, darkness, or even death, that we realize the importance of the light of Christ and to know that the light will always exist.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.