Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; …. Psalms 23:4
I don't like walking through the valley. I would rather be on the mountaintop. The sun shines bright. Day holds no secrets. Nothing is impossible. Life is worth living. Transformations take place on the mountaintop. Transfigurations do also. On the mountaintop we hear God. We feel His presence. We bask in His glory and warmth. We glow with His Holy Spirit. No such luck in the valley.
Valleys can be dark and dank, full of shadows. Things lurk above our heads, hiding in the bushes and rocks, ready to jump on us and devour us as we walk through the valley. Death resides in the valley. In the valley you can't see what lies ahead. In the valley the mountain above appears too big. We feel it can never be climbed or conquered, and it can never be trusted. We think it will fall and crush us.
Jesus walked through the valley of the shadow of death. The mountain he climbed cast the shadow. He was crucified on that mountain called Golgotha, the "place of the skull”. It was a place of death. Jesus not only walked through the valley, but he carried His cross through it and up the mountain. He did so willingly, without fear. His death was hideously evil. He carried all the sins of the world, both past and future, onto that cross without fear. My sins and yours were on the cross.
The shadow of death was in the valley. Death took place on the mountain top. Jesus died as a ransom for the whole world. Death could not defeat Him though. He conquered the mountain when He came out of the grave.
Now, as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. I will face whatever is in the valley because I know I will soon be on top of the mountain ahead. Death no longer dwells in the valley or on the mountain. Death has been conquered. Only the shadow of death still lurks in the valley, trying to keep us from seeing the top of the mountain. The mountain where Jesus stands in transfiguration, shining brightly, His hands held high, a beacon of everlasting hope for you and me.