Psalm 23 is probably the most well known of all the Psalms, and most believers know all or parts of it by memory. It was the first scripture I memorized in Portuguese, and it’s one I’ve read over and over again. Lately, I’ve been finding myself dwelling on one particular part… verse 4… which states:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (or through the darkest valley), I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You see, we all have different valleys. We all have different troubles and hardships. We all face different dangers and perils. Yet none of us should be walking through them alone.
My world has been turned upside down in the past month, just by moving to a new location. My valley has become my neighborhood.
As I step outside my door, I am faced with a path full of dangers. I walk down my street and I am constantly stepping over drug needles, used condoms, broken beer bottles, waste, filth, and even people. I am daily pestered by drunk men, who know not of what they say or do. I pass by male transvestite prostitutes, who are looking to score their next trick. I am appalled seeing two elderly men, snorting cocaine, but barely able to keep their aging hands from shaking. All these things are a glimpse into death, and all these people are living as a shadow.
But, just as David was facing his valleys, I must face mine too. David was not alone, and neither am I. I’ve started quoting this verse as I am walking to and from my place… and its been giving me such a spirit of peace. I might always be disgusted and saddened by what I see on a daily basis, but one thing I will not be is afraid!
…for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.