In Israel, there is a valley that is called the “Valley of the shadow of death”. It is a canyon with steep walls on both sides and is very narrow. The sun lights the bottom of the canyon only when it is directly overhead. The rest of the time the bottom of the canyon is dark form the shadows. The Psalmist surely led his sheep through this canyon at different times.
The Bible speaks of other valleys: the valley of calamity, the valley of weeping, and the valley of trouble. Valleys are an inevitable part of life. The good news is that God is with us always! No matter what valley we are going through, He is there.
I remember Grandpa looking out the window quite frequently to see how the sheep were doing as they grazed in the pasture. His rod and staff were quite different than that of the Psalmist. Today shepherds have guns for protection. (It is interesting that in many circles guns are called a rod.) And modern shepherds build barns for the sheep’s safety.
Every human being goes through valleys in life. The difference for those who know Jesus as Lord is not the absence of the shadow but the presence of the shepherd. Our God is always with us, always watching over us, and always protecting and keeping us.
Ask the Lord to help make you aware of His presence in your life throughout the day. The more we are aware of the blessing of His presence and power the more we are able to live what we know!