Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
[Such valleys come in my life. I have been faced with physical death, with death of a vision and death to self: dark times that were difficult, disorienting, distressing–like my wife’s long lasting depression. You knowingly lead us into these, just as when you sent the disciples out in their boat into the teeth of the storm (Matt. 14:22-24)
And it is for good reasons that you, Lord Jesus, lead me into and through these valleys–the greatest two being my giving you glory through trust, and my growth in grace. And you have other reasons beyond my present understanding. I can trust you as you lead me through the darkness, no matter how it feels–what you taught me in the light is still true in the darkness.]
“I will fear no evil, for you are with me;”
[Evil is there in both presence and potential, but I need not fear it, for you are with me–you, my Great and Good Shepherd, who is my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer. When you are there, what grounds do I have for fear? You are over all and in control of all; you are our great and mighty Ruler. I praise you for your faithful and powerful presence, full of wisdom and grace, love and firmness, able to protect us in the midst of any evil.]
“your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’
[With your rod, you hold our enemies at bay. You rule with a rod of iron; no one can defeat you in battle: “there is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30). Therefore I need not fear.
And with your staff, you guide me, correct me, bring me back to the path when I wander off your way. It is my nature (old self) to veer off the path, for I don’t have a valid compass of my own. But your constant correction with your staff (your Word, your Spirit, consequences to my wrong choices) keeps me on track. My course may be a zigzag as I stray and you bring me back, but the progress with you is always forward.
Praise you that you are helping me to walk more in wisdom, to zigzag less, to squander less time and energy on my own way, thereby bringing you more glory as I tread your path.
Praise you, Lord Jesus, for your faithful and powerful presence and protection. To you be glory and praise and honor, for you know the way through the dark. You are worthy of exaltation, thanksgiving and obedience.
I bow before you today in faith, I rise up in the day’s dawn to walk in submission to your loving guidance, especially when it takes me through dark times. Truly, the commandments of the Lord are radiant, giving light to my eyes (Ps. 19:8). Praise be to YOU!]