Psalm 23:4 - Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Loss. There are different kinds of loss: loss of a job, loss of a friendship, loss of finances, loss of health, loss of direction and many others. But the loss that is most likely to cause you to walk through the darkest valley is death.
This loss is universal. It hits everyone at some time of our lives. And when it hits, the light that once flooded our life is shut out.
Up until a couple of years ago, I had experienced all the losses above except for a loss in death. But then, my father passed away. I’d seen other people go through loss of a loved one, even read about it, but I hadn’t experienced it. And until you personally go through this kind of loss, there’s just no way you can understand what someone else is going through.
When I found out my father had died it was like as if someone had thrown a punch at my stomach. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. Everything around me felt like I was going through slow motion.
I found myself walking through that ultimate dark valley. But I wasn’t in it alone. I had my family who were also walking through grief. And I had my friends who supported me and the One who is always with me.
In the Bible verse above it states that God’s rod and staff comforted the writer. This reference was in correlation to a shepherd taking care of his flock.
The staff was not used to beat the sheep into submission. The staff was used to gently tap the sheep to move them in the direction they needed to go, or it was raised in the air as the shepherd himself guided the sheep to greener pastures.
It was also used to protect the sheep from the attack of a wolf or other wild animals. So it is with God. He uses his staff to guide us on our path and to protect us from harm.
We need not fear a dark valley for ultimately our sure hope will guide us even through the valley of death to our eternal home.
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Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.