“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.” Psalm 23:4(ESV)
I could no longer hold back my tears back as the realtor walked out our front door. We are really doing this. Moving 700 miles from the home we’ve raised our 6 children in, from our dear friends and church family. What if we are making a huge mistake?
I looked around the freshly painted family room that used to be filled with kids and comfortable clutter, but now was bare and unfamiliar-looking. Oh Lord, I am not sure I can do this! I am just starting to adjust to being an empty-nester. Do you really have a plan and a purpose in our moving?
Like the sheep in David’s Psalm 23, what I saw ahead of me looked like a deep valley – of change and uncertainty. My mind replayed the doubts I had about moving. What I knew to be true about God in my head– that He is faithful and trustworthy- was somehow not connecting with the fear and uncertainty I felt in my heart. Why can’t God put a billboard in my front yard that says something like “You are making the right decision and this is what I have planned for you next!”?
Maybe you can relate to feeling that grip of fear in the face of uncertainty. At times I try to flee from fear by doing things that keep me busy and distracted. Or I try to fight the fear and conquer it on my own, keeping the fear hidden from others and berating myself for my weakness.
But in Psalm 23, David shows us a better way. I love how David’s words speak to the timeless issues of fear and uncertainty. We find it right in the heart of Psalm 23.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Psalm 23:4(ESV)
How can David have no fear in the face of great danger in the valley? Because he is relying on Who is with him – His Father, The Good Shepherd!
Just like vulnerable sheep, we need to remember our Shepherd is with us. When fear overwhelms us, we are not called to flee or to fight, but to focus on our Shepherd’s presence.
“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
As a shepherd, David knew that the rod was used to protect the sheep from external threats and the staff was used to gently guide the sheep and keep them on the path. When we trust that our Shepherd carries a rod and staff, we can be comforted by His protection and guidance as we journey through the valleys of life.
As I adjust to life as an empty-nester in a new town, I am learning to prayerfully focus on Jesus’ presence right beside me. Thank you, Jesus, for carrying Your rod and staff as reminders of your protection and guidance!