Everyone is going to walk through seasons of darkness in their lives, Christian or not. The fact is that life and death will exist together in an endless cycle of beauty and ugliness, joy and pain until the return of Jesus Christ. As followers of Christ, our hope through Him, is that once our earthly existence ceases, we will continue into an eternal life, as Jesus did because “Christ risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20) In fact, the famous Scripture in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight,” is in reference to the hope we have of life after death. Even so, the experience of death is a lasting pain for those left behind.
When David wrote 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; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me,” he spoke of the comfort He had in the Lord’s presence. He had only prophecies of the Messiah to cling to and yet he understood that even literal death is but a shadow because of the Lord’s great Light, Jesus Christ, which would dispel all shadows. Isaiah, in Isaiah chapter 9, foretold of this Light, also calling death a “shadow” saying, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them the light has shined.” Then in the same breath he said, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace…The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.”
Minister to the Lord in worship as David did, in good times and in grief, as David did and experience the light and victory that David did in these shadow places.
Psalm 119:54 says, “Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my temporary dwelling.” Death is a temporary dwelling. Even the pain of death. You were never meant to live permanently within death, but many do, unable to break free and move on because of pain, anger, too many questions, and hopelessness. Yet, the Lord has provided a way forward: Worship. Worship will help you move ahead. Minister to the Lord in worship as David did, in good times and in grief, as David did and experience the light and victory that David did in these shadow places. In the “house of your temporary dwelling” – that valley of the shadow of death you’re walking through – worship God. The presence of God will not only shine the Light you need to see in that dark place, but He will dispel the shadows of death once and for all because of the hope you have in Jesus Christ.
Thought for today
There are no easy answers to the pain we experience on earth as a result of sin, and the process of grief will likely be part of your journey for the rest of your life. Yet, those who walked that same path have cried out, “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” (Hosea 13:14) because they saw a promise, a long way off, that one day a Light would come and dispel every shadow all the way into eternity. Worshipping the Lord, ministering to Him is what brings His presence close in a unique way because it moves you into His dwelling place – your permanent residence. As you’re on your journey in the valley of the shadow of death, remember that it is a temporary place. His dwelling place is where you were meant to live forever.