Though I’m used to reading “the valley of the shadow of death”, somehow this makes more sense to me. Darkest valley sounds like a more accurate translation than the King James, since adding “death” to the phrase includes and unnecessary note to an already dark passage. One should never add to the Scripture, as the inclusion of “death” implies that this passage only has relevance to someone who is dying, which isn’t true at all. This passage speaks to everyone. David knew especially what it meant to trod this valley. He knew depression, which anyone who read through the Psalms can easily surmise. David, along with other great men of the Bible (Moses and Elijah) experienced profound depression, and may have been been diagnosed today as manic depressive or bi-polar. They had extremely high highs and extremely low lows. Yet God used all of them to great effect.
I write today to those in their darkest valleys. Whether by external circumstances, for which this year provides plenty of, or something more internal, I want you to know that God has not forgotten you. You have not been left abandoned on the side of the road by the Lord God Almighty. He still loves and cares for you, even though you can’t feel it right now. God never stops loving you. But He does test us.
You may be familiar with the story about the father and son who sent into the woods. The boy was to be tested for manhood. The father sat him on a stump, blind-folded him, and told him to stay put until morning, when he could take off the blindfold. All through the night, the boy stayed on that stump, though he heard growls and howls throughout those chilling hours. He was afraid, but knew he must stay there, or he would never be accepted as a man. When the sun rose in the morning, the boy took of his blindfold to see his father sitting just across from him. While the boy sat and endured the test, even though he couldn’t see his father, his father never left him.
I am telling this story from memory so my details are probably way off, but the gist of the story illustrates the truth of our Heavenly Father. We are always walking through dark valleys, and it seems that at those times God steps away, when the truth is that God is never far from us, but always watching out for the dangers we cannot see and protecting us.
My prayer is for you walking in a dark valley today. Fear not. God is with you. God will never forsake you. Even in 2020, God is still God.