Even though I walk in the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff-comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

Growing up, I learned the version….Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil… Reading that, I still envision walking with God in a pretty valley with large mountains surrounding it. And all of a sudden, the sky darkens, a shadow covers our path, and it takes an ominous feel of pending death.

This year in particular, more people than I ever knew personally or with my hospital work have walked that dark valley in their battle with COVID 19. Like Jesus, we each have our own life’s journey, that has a beginning and end on Earth, filled with good times and bad. During these pandemic times with so much sickness, death, financial burdens, domestic violence, isolation and fear, it is commonplace to call out and ask God…” Where are you?” But when we are still and open our hearts, spirit and mind, we realize God has been helping us along even now as he always has and always will.

This verse which used to make me sad, now gives me comfort. Because like a good shepherd, God is with us every moment on our life’s path, to guide and protect us. So even in our darkest hours, we are not alone; and what security that brings. Psalm 23 ends with a recap and finale of our lives that was a promise paid in full by Jesus’ journey to the cross. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Amen to that brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus!

Dear Jesus, help us to not lose sight of your presence and love even on our darkest days. We may not yet understand your purposes for suffering and loss, but help us to trust you and be thankful for all your blessings and constant love. Amen.

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