Psalm 23:4

Even 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.

English Standard Version

There is so much our minds know about death, but so little that our hearts know. Our minds know that there is a time and a season for everything, including birth and death. Our minds know that Jesus’ resurrection defeated death, both for Himself and for us, and that Jesus’ promise is true that He went to prepare a place for us in heaven. We know these truths, and we believe these deep in our souls, but the pain we feel in the shadow of death is strong, and our aching hearts will not be consoled by reason.

Each time we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, our Guide is beside us. We do not know the way through this dreaded and unfamiliar valley, but Jesus knows. At a time when our pain makes us so vulnerable, Hod is there to protect us, and more than that, to comfort us. Jesus knows how much it hurts, and He knows all the unanswerable questions that pour out of us in the valley, and He is there.

Because He is there to protect and comfort us in the valley, we have the promises of the blessings that follow in Psalm 23 and elsewhere in the scriptures. But in the valley, the blessing that our heart can understand is that He is there. God promised to “wipe away ever tear” from our eyes, and for that reason, Jesus is there. God’s “grace is sufficient” for all the burdens we bear, so Jesus is there. We do not find many answers in the valley, because our hearts do not ache for explanations and logic. We just need to be held, and Jesus is there.


Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.