OF THE SHADOW
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
The Valley of the Shadow of Death is a place that we are to walk through. Valleys are places where our vision is reduced, our world shrinks, we are hemmed in by steep mountainsides and there is little or no room for others. It is a place of walking without being able to see; a place where the sun rises late and sinks early, a place of darkness and distress. It is here that we also catch the fragrance of the “Lily of the Valley” and though we cannot see Him there is a lingering sense that we are not far from His care.
We all love the mountaintop experiences where our vision sees far and our faith soars as we see the purposes of God in Christ. It is on the mountaintops that we see beyond where we now stand and the wind of His Spirit blows upon our face. The heart rises in eagerness to go from where we are to distant lands of promise, power and relationship. These are good moments and necessary ones as our Great Shepherd stirs our hearts to a greater longing for more of Him! It is these experiences that give us vision but it is in the valleys that WE BECOME the life that we see in Him from the heights. This journey of faith is one of becoming through identification with HIM. Many love the teachings, the visionary aspects of the Christian landscape, but THE CALL OF GOD is one of picking up our cross and following HIM! It is a life of discipline; a life of following the Lamb wherever HE goes. It is not about us, it is about HIM. It is the valley that separates the disciples from the adherents. It is the place of becoming where we learn in full measure that within ourselves dwells no good thing. In the learning of this we begin to grasp the wonder and power of a love that surpasses understanding, a forgiveness that is unmerited, and a joy in God our saviour.
It is in the Valleys that the metal is forged and faith becomes an unshakeable substance within the life of those who would dare cross over. It is here that the prisoner Joseph becomes “Zaphnath-Paaneah”.
“He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:
Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him”
Time is not sufficient to speak of the countless others all over the world (even at this very moment) who are enduring persecutions, trials, testings and even death for HIS NAME SAKE. These valleys of great sorrow and suffering, though grievous and heartrending, are the means to new places of LIFE within HIM. It is the broken pitchers of Gideon’s army that revealed the inner light causing the hosts of Midian to flee and bringing great victory to the people of God. Those that are broken in the hands of their God can never be broken by the experiences of life.
It is the Valleys where the stamina is wrought into the life of the overcomer. It is in the Valley of experience that the end of man ushers in the strength and glory of God. It is here that we learn of a truth that HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!
The secret of the message of the valley is that we walk through it. We do not succumb to it, we do not spend our life sitting in it; we walk THROUGH IT. We keep moving, trusting, and walking until the DAY dawns and HIS GLORY is seen!
Lord, we pray for the very substance of your faith to empower, enlarge and encourage every one of your people who at this moment are walking in the valley of the shadow of death. We pray that the Glory of WHO YOU ARE will be their fortress, their Rock and their High Tower in this time of need. May there be a new seeing of you, learning of you and worship of you arise from this place that in the end of the journey may come forth the declaration of FAITH…
“Great and marvellous are your works, Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!”
REVELATION 15:2 – 3