Twentieth Day: "I walk through the valley of the shadow of death."
But there is another application, and it is the one most precious to us, possibly because most often given. The words speak of that time when we may pass by the way of death into His presence whom having not seen we have loved.
"'I walk,' says the Psalmist; and dead sheep cannot walk, they must be carried."
"As if the believer did not quicken his pace when he came to die, but calmly walked with God. To walk indicates the steady advance of a soul, which knows its road, knows its end, resolves to follow the path, feels quite safe, and is therefore perfectly calm and composed. The dying saint is not in a flurry; he does not run as if he were alarmed, nor stand still as though he would go no further. He is not confounded nor ashamed, and therefore keeps to his old pace."
Observe also that he is walking through the valley.
"We go through the dark tunnel of death and emerge into the light of immortality. We do not die we do but sleep to wake in glory. Death is not the house, but the porch; not the goal, but the passage to it.''
It is well called a valley. "The storm breaks on the mountain; but the valley is the place of quietude, and thus full often the last days of the Christian are the most peaceful in his whole career. The mountain is bleak and bare, but the valley is rich with golden sheaves, and many a saint has reaped more joy and knowledge when he came to die than he ever knew while he lived." These are the words of the sainted Spurgeon. I doubt not that if he could speak today he would only add to the beauty of his description of our going home to be with Christ.
"Lie still in the darkness;
Sleep safe in the night,
The Lord is a watchman,
The Lamb is a light.
Jehovah, he holdeth
The sea and the land,
The earth in the hollow
Of his mighty hand.
All's well in the darkness,
All's well in the light,
The Lamb is a watchman,
The Lamb is a light."
Suggestions for To-day.
1. This may be your last day upon earth. If so, would your pace
through the valley be the same as your walk of yesterday?
2. If "to live is Christ and to die is gain," and your life is anything less than Christ, then what will your death be?
3. If the path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day, then what is it that casts the shadows on your path? It must be something between you and the light.
4. If to-morrow should mark your entrance into glory, then live today as you will wish you had when you see him.
From The Secret of a Happy Day: Quiet Hour Meditations by J. Wilbur Chapman. Boston: United Society of Christian Endeavor, ©1899.