As Ronan neared the end of his journey, he entered the Valley of the Shadow. It was so dark he could barely make out the path. The moon hid behind the clouds, casting weird shadows on the waving grass. Empty moans emanated from the trees that covered the cliffs and encroached on the valley’s winding path. Ronan’s heart thumped, and his knees felt weak. “Shadows can’t hurt anyone,” he told himself. “Shadows can’t hurt anyone.”
“Ronan?” a voice called from the darkness. For a second, Ronan’s heart almost stopped, but then he recognized the familiar voice.
“Teacher!” Ronan said, his voice shaking. “It’s so good to see You—or at least, it’s good to hear You. It’s so dark, I can hardly see anything.”
“I know. I’ve been walking with you the whole time,” the Teacher said, His words surrounding Ronan like an embrace. “I will be with you as you walk through this darkest of valleys.”
With the Teacher beside him, Ronan’s fears began to quiet. At times, he even felt like the shadows were friendly, and the sounds no longer made him quake. Even though Ronan couldn’t see Him, he could feel the Teacher’s presence. He knew that no matter what happened on his journey across the Valley of the Shadow, the Teacher would be with him. • A. W. Smith
• This story is an allegory. In Psalm 23, David writes about “the valley of the shadow of death” (verse 4). Do you know someone who is dying? Do you ever feel afraid of dying yourself?
• Read Matthew 28:20 and then Psalm 23. For a Christian, death is like a shadow. As Psalm 23 says, we don’t have to fear death because Jesus is with us. He is the Teacher and the Good Shepherd (Matthew 23:8; John 10:11). He has already faced death for us—and He defeated death by rising from the grave. If you know Jesus, you will be raised from the dead too. In fact, the last verse of Psalm 23 tells us what will happen to those who trust in Jesus: we will dwell with God forever. We will spend eternity with Jesus and with our siblings in Christ! How could these truths comfort us when we feel that death is near?
• If you have questions about what it means to know Jesus, who is a trusted Christian you could talk to? (You can also find out more on our “Know Jesus” page.)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalm 23:4a (WEB)