The Ever-Present God ~~ Martin B. Copenhaver
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me. From Psalm 23.
These are the first verses of Scripture many of us commit to memory. In a way it is odd that we would teach this psalm to children because it speaks of realities that most children have yet to confront. So when we teach children this psalm, we are giving them a gift that may take them a lifetime to appreciate fully. Memorize this, we say, bury it deep in your consciousness, and mark well where you left it. Because someday, you will need. Go to sleep.
I once heard about a species of bird that migrates over huge expanses of water carrying a twig in its beak. When the storms come, the bird can float atop the water, kept from drowning by the twig. And so this psalm has been for many people, when the storms come, as they inevitably do, on our long journeys. The words of Psalm 23 also are the last words many people hear. I have recited them that countless bedsides and seen people who had seemingly lost all consciousness move their lips to silently form the familiar words and taste them one more time. It is fitting that these words accompany us from the beginning of our lives until the end, because the words speak of God's everlasting presence with us. The everlasting psalm is an audible reminder of the ever-present God.
PRAYER: God, I praise you that you accompany me throughout my days and even as I walk through the darkest valley. Amen.
God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 19.