The words of Psalm 23 embrace every stage and experience of life – seasons of peace and tranquillity, times when we are facing enemies and that time of life which we all have to go through one day – the valley of the shadow of death.
On numerous occasions now, my wife and I have had to accompany someone through their own valley of the shadow of death – most of them members of our teams or families who had reached the end of their days. But on one occasion a much younger man suffered a major heart attack and a few hours later he went to be with the Lord.
In almost his last words he expressed to Fiona the urgency there was in his spirit about the need for holiness and unity in the ministry. He knew that the Lord was asking him to speak to the leaders about these critical issues. And having delivered his message it was only an hour or so later that the heart attack struck him and he was helpless on the ground.
Even though he knew that what he was going through was very serious, there was no panic and no fear, he was totally at peace that the Lord was with him in his personal journey through the valley of the shadow of death. With his final words, he told Fiona that he felt like a baby being held safe in his Father’s arms. He was comforted in his spirit by the presence of the Lord who carried him to the safety of eternity. The powers of darkness had no say in the matter. Demonic fear was powerless to intervene. His death, when it came, was a supreme God-moment.
This is the testimony of the saints of God. The Lord is their comforter at their greatest moment of personal need. No wonder Paul referred to Him as “the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles” in 2 Corinthians 1:3 & 4. And in 1 Corinthians 15:54 Paul declared that “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
While no-one looks forward to the moment of dying it is so very encouraging to know that when our time comes we have nothing to fear from the forces of evil and we have a place to go to, which the Good Shepherd has prepared for each one of His sheep. The Gospel is such incredibly good and encouraging news!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for your incredible love and provision for each one of Your children. Thank You that I can look forward to all the rest of my days, knowing that when it is my turn to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, You will be there to comfort me and welcome me to my eternal home with You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.