David continues and invites us to ponder a third dimension of life: disturbing times. Take a moment to remember a time that was difficult for you, a time in which you felt your life had come to an end and were not sure it would every be satisfactory.Perhaps a divorce or the loss of a girl friend or boy friend, perhaps you were fired or realized that your company was going to downsize or even collapse. There are many forms of death. David summarized his experience with the image of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. For David, the great dread was entering one of these dark times alone. Do you know this sense of isolation in your life? His discovery, however, was that he was never alone. God was always with Him.
Now relax, take a couple of deep breaths and let the air out, then repeat to yourself, ”
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Repeat the words again, phrase by phrase. Now exhale slowly and ask, “Lord, when have I felt as David did, that my life was entering a dark place only to discover that you were there after all?” Don’t focus on the words so much as on the image. What’s it like to look up and realize that you are with someone who understands that hard place? That someone is with you and wishes you well.
When your mind wanders off and it will, just repeat the question, “Lord, when did I discover you were with me a difficult time?” Don’t try to force yourself to “pay attention.” You are praying for God to gift you with a memory from your own life. Relax and allow it.
If you remember such a time, return thanks for God’s fellowship in the darkness and make a note of it. You may want to do this exercise for a few days or even a couple of weeks in order to build up your “file” of times you know God was with you even though you seemed to be in a bleak, frightening time.
If you would like to have me read the passage to you, click here.