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. CSB
One of the very first English worship songs I learned as a little boy was called “He’ll take you through”. I’m sure it was the late veteran Overseer Langton’s favourite song, as I can’t remember any conference when he didn’t sing it. Admittedly, its deep significance was largely lost to my young mind back then. But its ambience wasn’t. For the way adults used to be moved whenever it was sung, the spiritual atmosphere and the palpable sense of the Spirit’s presence when it was sung, left an indelible impression upon me.
I have come to realise that the song has a lot to do with Psalm 23 (v4 in particular). It assures worshippers of God’s promise to personally take His flock through life’s darkest valleys. That’s you! The Bible says we are the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3). Whatever valley you’re going through, God has no intention of letting you get stuck in it. His express will is for you to walk THROUGH. That means He wants you to make it to the end. Although your present location may be in the valley, your destination is out of it. The valley is not your terminus but your transit.
Moreover, God doesn’t want you to depend on your own natural means to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He doesn’t shout out to you from a distance to swim or sink. Rather, He promises to walk with you every step of the way. He assures you of His presence, not just His goodwill.
In addition, God avails His rod and His staff to comfort you as you transition through the valley. I believe (as do other scholars) that the Good Shepherd’s rod and staff are equivalent to His word and His Spirit.
That means whenever God wants to minister comfort to us, He uses His holy word (Scripture) and/or His Spirit. That means when certain Bible verses resonate with your heart, pay attention. That’s God’s way of reassuring you. Also, when certain impressions or nudges of the Spirit tug at your heart, pay attention. That’s the Lord guiding and leading you His way. As we conclude, let me leave you with the chorus of the good old hymn, “He’ll take you through”.
He’ll take you through, however you’re tried;
His tender care is never denied;
Then always trust His promise so true,
He’ll take you through,
He will take you through.