"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
Have you ever noticed that it seems that death comes in groups? Often, when I hear about one person passing away there is another one right behind it. Yesterday was that way. I received two phone calls just a couple of hours apart to let me know that people that I know or am acquainted with had passed away. One of them was expected and the other was a complete surprise. Unfortunately most of us have felt the sting of death in our lives. We know today what these families are feeling. However, I also have been told that both of these individuals knew Jesus Christ as their Savior. They both had a personal relationship with Jesus based on what He did for them on the cross of Calvary. Therefore, immediately when they took their last breath, they were absent from this earthly body and in the very presence of the Lord.
The psalmist wrote that we will most definitely walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Have you ever noticed the confidence that he has in walking through this valley? He doesn't see death as a definite end to dread, but instead he calls it merely a shadow. While the thought of the unknown may terrify many, the believer does not live in the unknown. We live with the knowledge that for those who know God there is no fear in death. No evil can overtake me even in death when I am safely in the arms of Jesus. I walk through this valley in His presence. I am simply following Him through a path that He has already foreordained for my life. It is He that protects me from the evil one. It is He that keeps the enemy from snatching at my soul. There is no greater security than knowing that I am safely in His presence even during the most dreaded and fearful day of my life humanly speaking.
John Newton, the writer of Amazing Grace, saw life and death completely different than most. His last words were reported to be: "I am still in the land of the dying; I shall be in the land of the living soon." We of course will weep when we lose a dear saint of God. We will weep more for us than we will for them. They are safe now. They are comforted beyond imagination. They are today in the land of the living.
May you be comforted by the presence of God.