The Valley of the Shadow of Death has nothing to do with cemeteries and everything to do with country clubs. The shadow of death haunts our lives and darkens the pages where God has said, “They all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” The Valley of the Shadow of Death is long, narrow, and is lined with steeply pitched flanks of mountains too high for me to climb. The acoustics of the valley are perfect to echo back every doubt I express and negative word I utter. The pollution I am forced to walk in is myself.
Or, put another way, using the words of a once popular song, “Some days you the windshield, some days you the bug.” I am not feeling so poetic today, so it’s bug for me.
“To whom do lions cast their gentle looks? Not to the beast that would usurp their den. The smallest worm will turn being trodden on.” Shakespeare; Henry VI, Part 3.
This cocoon is one of the inhabitants of the Valley of the Shadow. At one end of the valley it was a meager worm who turned. At the far end of the valley it will be a beautiful butterfly.
Oh God, isn’t it marvelous? Party time! Sfx: the sound of cheering and celebration.
Not if you are the worm. That is a silk coffin, dark, confining, seemingly endless. It is not happy in there and seems like it will never let go. The worst? Without legs the only thing you can do is inch your way along like a, well, like a worm.
When Shakespeare used the phrase, “The smallest worm will turn,” he knew that no one would misunderstand. It was a widely used expression in his day to indicate a reversal of fortune. Change always comes to the patient. The Bard of Avon was also an avid reader of the Bible.
Making it relevant. This day began in a silk coffin, wrapped in shadow and hanging from a branch of failure. But God. There is a Proverb that says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
The word fitly spoken came from a friend named Beth who often inspires me with the beautiful stories she writes. Her advice? “Put your faith in God not in other Christians. People make bad choices. They will disappoint but God never changes. He IS who He says He is!” To say that the word came like a slap in the face hard enough to spin my head around would be an understatement. Word delivered, heard, and understood.
Scriptural proof that the long valley ends. “Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” “Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs.” “Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.” “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
Scriptural proof that we don’t have to make the journey inching along. “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Thanks Beth. I needed that.