In the Valley of the Shadow, Look to God's Light


When people go through loss, you see two common reactions: One is grief, and the other is fear. Grief is good. Fear is not.

“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)

Loss is a common source of stress. You can lose your job, your health, your money, your reputation, or a loved one. But, even in the greatest season of loss, you’ll never lose God’s presence.

When people go through loss, you often see two common reactions: grief or fear. Grief is good. Grief is the way you get through the transitions of life. In fact, if you don’t grieve, you get stuck!

On the other hand, fear is a bad thing. Not once does the Bible say, “Grieve not,” “Mourn not,” “Weep not,” or “Cry not.” But it does say, “Fear not.” And it says that 365 times! Grief doesn’t paralyze you, but fear does.

David says in 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” (ESV).

Shepherds always carried a rod and a staff to protect their sheep. In the same way, David trusted that God had the tools to protect him—even in his darkest valleys.

Maybe you’re going through the valley of the shadow right now. Perhaps you’re in the valley of the shadow of death. Or it may be the valley of the shadow of debt, conflict, depression, or discouragement.

Shadows are scary. Do you remember being afraid of shadows as a kid? I’ve learned a few things about shadows.

First, shadows can’t hurt you.

Second, shadows are always bigger than the source.

And here’s more good news: You can’t have a shadow without light. So the key to going through the valley of the shadow is to turn your back on the shadow and look at the light. As long as you keep your eyes on the light—Jesus, the light of the world—the shadow won’t scare you.

That’s how you go through the valley of the shadow of death. That’s how you lower your stress. You trust God in the dark valleys—just like David, who prayed, “When I am ready to give up, he knows what I should do” (Psalm 142:3 GNT).

Talk It Over

What shadows have you recently been facing? What makes them so daunting to you?

How have you seen God use his “rod” and “staff” to keep you safe through shadows in your past?

What is one practical way you can choose to look at the light instead of the shadow during difficult times?

Have you trusted God’s promise of salvation?

If you’re ready to commit your life to Jesus, then pray this prayer:

“Dear Jesus, you have promised that if I believe in you, everything I’ve ever done wrong will be forgiven, I will learn the purpose of my life, and you will accept me into your eternal home in heaven one day.

“I confess my sin, and I receive you into my life as my Lord and Savior. Today, I’m turning every part of my life over to you. I want to follow you and do what you tell me to do.

“Jesus, I am grateful for your love and for your sacrifice that makes it possible for me to join you in heaven. I know I don’t deserve it. And I thank you that I don’t have to earn or work for my salvation, because I know that is impossible. I want to use the rest of my life to serve you instead of serving myself. I humbly commit my life to you, and I ask you to save me and accept me into your family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

If you just prayed to accept Jesus, please email me at Rick@PastorRick.com and let me know. I’d like to send you some free materials to help you start your journey with Jesus.

Premium Resource: Daily Hope Prayer Journal

This devotional © 2022 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Stay Alert
Pastor Rick Warren
Prayer: Ask God Specific Questions
Pastor Rick Warren
Can I Change People?
Pastor Rick Warren
How Do I Pray?
Pastor Rick Warren
Not Trusting God Leads to Stress
Pastor Rick Warren
Follow Us

Want to access more exclusive iDisciple content?

Upgrade to a Giving Membership today!

Already a member? Login to iDisciple