Where do you need comfort today? Perhaps there’s something weighing on your heart and you just want a close friend to sit next to you. Maybe you’re stretched too thin. Maybe your physical body aches or is causing you anxiety that takes your breath away.
We all have dark days. Life can feel overwhelming, overshadowing God’s goodness, and we slip into valleys that steal our trust, peace, and sense of security. “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me,” writes the author of Psalm 23:4.
I think the reason why Psalm 23 is such a popular passage is because the imagery puts us at ease. The psalmist depicts a God who walks alongside us, who relieves our burdens, and who knows what we need and freely gives it. We aren’t without guidance or support. Our Good Shepherd has made a path for us.
This week, I found myself at a local retreat center. Surrounded by pine and cypress trees, I took two days to step away from work and Instagram (mostly) so I could more intentionally pray and listen for God’s voice.
The reason why I desired this time away is because my significant other and I are preparing for engagement. More than anything, I long for this to be a time of joy and excitement—unmarred by worry. But alongside this excitement, are some very real, dark fears for me. As a thirty-five year old woman with chronic health issues, there are many hard realities we have to consider in this shared decision. I find myself lying awake at night, ruminating over questions I can’t fully answer this side of marriage.
Can I be a fully-present partner? Will I have enough energy to care for a child? Will I have time to keep the restorative practices in place that help my body function well? What will it feel like to give up the solitude I’ve had for so long?
This is real life, friends. Darkness and anxiety dominate my thoughts when I stop trusting that God is guiding our relationship (which I do believe He is!). But stepping away from the noise helped focus my mind on God’s Word again.
The next time you find yourself with a really dark day, take comfort. You are not alone. When trouble comes, Psalm 23:4 is a beautiful prayer to remind ourselves that God is with us and offers His guiding presence.
I fear no danger, for you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—they comfort me.
We can breathe more deeply, trusting that Christ holds all things together, including us. Our valleys will look different for each of us. But they are bound together by this shared hope: Christ is with us in the midst of every sad, chaotic, sick, or lonely hour. Ultimately, we don’t have to fear danger or trouble. His comfort is near and freely given.