The LORD Our Companion
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy Rod and Thy Staff they comfort me"
Sweet are these words in describing a deathbed assurance. How many have repeated them in their last hours with intense delight! But the verse is equally applicable to agonies of spirit in the midst of life. Some of us, like Paul, die daily through a tendency to gloom of soul. Bunyan puts the Valley of the Shadow of Death far earlier in the pilgrimage than the river which rolls at the foot of the celestial hills. We have some of us traversed the dark and dreadful defile of "the shadow of death" several times, and we can bear witness that the LORD alone enabled us to bear up amid its wild thought, its mysterious horrors, its terrible depressions. The LORD has sustained us and kept us above all real fear of evil, even when our spirit has been overwhelmed. We have been pressed and oppressed, but yet we have lived, for we have felt the presence of the Great Shepherd and have been confident that His crook would prevent the foe from giving us any deadly wound. Should the present time be one darkened by the raven wings of a great sorrow, let us glorify God by a peaceful trust in Him.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was England's best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000all in the days before electronic amplification.