No Fear

Pixabay, Public Domain
In 1921, the Women’s Missionary Society of his church presented my father with a devotional book. In his later years he read from it every day. The reading for September 26, the day in 1991 when my dad died, the Scripture verse on which the devotional was based was Psalm 23:4:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

My father was alone in a hospital bed when he died—at least that was the regret I felt when I first learned the details of his passing. But later, after being divinely directed to check the devotional book dad always read, I was reminded again that, though no human being might have been with him, the Great Shepherd had been there to personally escort him through the valley.

It was a huge comfort to me to remember that Truth.

Whether the valleys of our lives be those of hardship, sorrow, illness, danger, or even death itself, what a wonderful blessing it is to know that our Shepherd is always there.

Jesus reminded His listeners in John 10 that those who claim to be shepherds, but are not, will be a disappointment when things get tough for the sheep. On the other hand, the True Shepherd will do everything, even to the point of giving His own life, to protect His sheep. We can count on Him, no matter what.

In the devotional reading for September 26, its contributor, William Law, writes this:

“The devout soul is always safe in every state, if it makes everything an occasion either of rising up, or falling down into the hands of God, and exercising faith, and trust, and resignation Him. The pious soul, that eyes only God, that means nothing but being His alone, can have no stop put to its progress; light and darkness equally assist him: in the light he looks up to God, in the darkness he lays hold on God, and so they both do him the same good.”

Understanding the old-fashioned language requires a little work, but that extra work is worth it if it serves to help us remember this quality of our Shepherd—the One who is with us in the good times, and especially close in those times that are not so pleasant.

I will fear no evil…” Certainly not from the hands of my Good Shepherd.

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