“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Psalms 23:4 NKJV
Trouble. Affliction. Loneliness. Heartache. Pain. Betrayal. Eventually all of these will knock on our door. Valleys of the shadow of death are unavoidable.
A valley lies between two hills or mountains. It is typically narrow with steep rocky walls on each side and a stream running through it. It’s terrain is difficult to transverse. It is a metaphor for our difficult times, our tough seasons. No one wants to spend a long season in the valley.
But what if the valley prepared us for our next mountain top experience. What if the valley was a training ground where we learned not to fear or be in awe of the trouble we face. What if in the valley we experienced greater intimacy with God; intimacy necessary to sustain us in mountaintop dwelling.
What if while in the valley, we learned to be comforted by his rod and his staff. The word rod is “shebet” and 140 times it’s translated as tribe and 34 times as rod. It is essential to know while in the valley, we are part of his tribe. We are His. Despite the trouble, despite the difficult terrain, despite the sparseness, we belong to Him and He is a protective Father. He is defending us, protecting us with His rod. In the valley we are comforted by knowing not only has He not forsaken us, He is in the valley with us.
When in the valley and it seems like we can’t go another inch, when we are ready to give up, when the mountaintop seem galaxies away, His staff is there to support us and guide us. We put our weight, our heaviness, our burdens on the staff and we keep moving forward.
Do you feel as if you are in a valley? Look at it this way, you are between two mountains. The valley is not your destination but your pathway to the mountaintop. Don’t stop in the valley, short of your destination. Persevere to where you were called to be – on the mountain.