ADVENT DAY FOUR
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
THROUGH THE DEEP DARKNESS
There is so much hope to be had in a moment like this. A moment where David, the author of this Psalm, acknowledges the brokenness of this life, he acknowledges that there will be moments where we are simply making our way through this valley of death, through this deep-thick-darkness*. We live in a culture that praises perfect circumstances and avoids pain at all costs. But as we saw on Day Two of Advent, pain is unavoidable in a world that is broken, a world that is far from it’s original design.
Even well meaning christians will shout words like “freedom” and “deliverance” heaping expectations and guilt on a heart that is grieving. There can be an unspoken pressure to move quickly through pain. And yet what we see here doesn’t quite fit that expectation. There is an acknowledgement of pain and a reminder of truth amidst that pain. There is no admonition to move quickly through the valley, simply a reminder that even in the deep-thick-darkness we don’t have to be afraid.
Because He’s right there.
He is with you.
In Exodus 3:12 we find these words: “But I will be with you…“
This “with you” is not a mere mention of God’s omnipresence, that “God is everywhere.” No, this is a promise that no matter what deep-dark-valley you are walking through, God’s active, powerful presence is with His people. His active, powerful presence is with you.
“…behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b
*The original language of the Old Testament is Hebrew and the phrase for “death” can also mean “deep, thick darkness.”