In the valley of the shadow of death


Because I am still in good health, some people might say I don’t know anything about what I’m going to write in this article. You would be wrong if you said that. I have been preparing for my own death now for forty years. While waiting my turn to enter into the realities of its shadow, I have always been prepared to greet it with confidence and without regret. You might say my spiritual bags have always been packed.  

From the day I first read John’s gospel and realized I was a sinner, unsaved and indeed not going into the presence of the Lord at my death, I got born again and gave up all to follow Him. For the last forty years I have continued that journey towards the departure lounge on my final journey to see Him face-to-face. And despite the times when I slipped and stumbled, I have always trusted His promises, confessed my sins and pressed on through the valley of the shadow of death, as David the Psalmist confidently wrote.

Yet during my forty years in God’s kingdom I have found so many Christians, though hearing Psalm 23 at nearly every funeral they’ve attended, have not been preparing their hearts while walking in the valley of the shadow of death. The valley of the shadow of death is not those months or days in the last stages of one’s life; it is the whole of one’s life! Death is an event we will all participate in eventually and therefore we should be constantly prepared for it while serving Him in this fragile world. Death is merely the finality of God’s plan for our life. A plan which He prepared for us before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 2:10. The valley of death is our journey through life and death itself brings that journey to an end. Thereafter we enter into the presence of the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.  

In the light of this, rejoice in your new birth and while doing so, love those you live with. Love those God grants you in your youth and in your fading years. Enjoy the environment He allows you to serve Him in. Delight in your hope and the fellowship of faithful believers. Use the material wealth He grants you for His glory alone and regret not that you must leave it all behind. Focus only on His glory and His promises and trust not in the attractions in the valley of death as you pass through it. But above all, examine yourself and cast off all those earthly shackles that keep you from knowing Him and His Son intimately for therein is eternal life, John 17:3.


Bob Chapman MA


**Award winning book 2007
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One Response to “In the valley of the shadow of death”

  1. dwhitsett Says:

    Thanks Bob…something we all need to remember!

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