By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The Shepherd and the Shadows
pastor corner

Pastor Jim Jackson

Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church

As a minister of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and as a pastor, I’m often called upon to help persons in difficulty. In such times God’s word is a tremendous help. I often use the Psalms because they are so human, and, yet, so divine. They are human in that the authors were very honest about the pain, trials and difficulties of our humanity.

Yet I say they are divine because they invariably point out the difference God’s presence makes in our our humanity.

While being very honest about our pain as humans, the Psalms are very forthright in pointing out the difference God’s presence makes as we walk through the inescapable shadows.

A classic example of what I’m talking about is seen in the twenty-third Psalm, verse four: “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.” It is true that we humans live constantly in the shadow of death. The reality of our mortality is always present. We literally walk in the knowledge that the present moment could easily be our last. And beside that, we are very often facing various difficulties which remind us— believers and unbelievers alike—there is no certain immunity for our precarious existence on this earth. Being a Christian is no guarantee we won’t experience pain and certain death. So what difference does faith make? The author of this verse tells us. The difference is that we also live with the assurance that God is with us. As one song of years gone-by asserts, we “never walk alone.” The Shepherd’s presence makes the difference in the shadows. Thus we confidently walk through the shadows attending our life on earth.

When I was a boy, my mother and I were often alone at home in the country at night. With my father coming home late in the night, my mother would send me to bed soon after nine o’clock. Often, accompanied with childhood fears in the dark, I would lye in bed awake and sleepless, looking forward to hearing my father turn off the highway and into our oyster shell driveway. One car after another would pass without turning in.

Yet eventually I would hear one slow down and turn in the driveway with it’s lights flashing on the wall of my bedroom. Soon i would hear my father’s footsteps upon the porch, hear mother greet him as he came in, then close the door. My father was at home. Of course those imagined childhood fears were still outside, But I turned over and quickly fell asleep. The difference—my father was in the house. Believers, remember your Father is in the house of your life.

Sign up for our E-Newsletters