Child psychologists studied toddler’s behavior at night time and discovered that children tend to she shadows in their rooms, (if you’re a parent you know this is true). Then interpret and imagine the shadows as scary things, becoming fearful and then struggling to sleep. But when the light was turned on in the room, everything changed. They could see that everything was okay and then were able to sleep at ease.
Have you ever let your own fear of shadows become all-consuming? While having faith is something we strive for, we’re human and fall short. We often fear the unknowns and what-ifs of life. Even though fear and faith can share the same heartbeat, they don’t share the same perspective. Fear focuses on the shadows, and faith focuses on the Shepherd.
Psalm 23 teaches us this. What words come to mind when you think of the valley? The first part of Psalm 23 paints a picture of green pastures and abundant waters. It’s a restful, sheltered, and restorative place where every need is met and God’s care is evident. Some valleys, however, are inhospitable passages with deep shadows and restrictive views of what lies ahead. In the “valley of the shadow of desth” Psalm 23:4), travelers feel vulnerable to all sorts of dangers.
For Christians, green pastures and dark valleys are both a part of life. There are times when God’s abundant outward blessings are obvious and we respond in joy and gratitude. But on other occasions, we’re surrounded by darkness, loss, and pain. Obscured by shadows the path to the future is filled with fearful uncertainties the way seem long, with no end in sight.
However, the same Shepherd who cares for us in the green pasture also remains by our side in the dismal valley, determined to lead us through. We can count on His comfort and protection throughout life’s journey until we safely reach our Father’s house,
Just like small children, when fear takes over in our valleys, we often only see darkness. But faith sees the light of the Shepherd giving us the comfort we need to walk confidently. What has your perspective been in your valleys? Are you focused on the shadows? Or have you locked eyes with your Shepherd? Maybe if we spent a little time asking Jesus to give us more faith-filled perspective and directing our focus to Him, our valleys wouldn’t seem so deep.