Dear Pilgrim, are you approaching the valley of deep darkness? Does your heart lurch within you as you are confronted with this valley? As your enemy pursues you, crushing you to the ground, forcing you towards the valley of darkness, do your fears rise? As the gates of this valley of deepest darkness open for you as you pass through, does your courage fade?
Pilgrim, there is no need to fear any evil as you walk through this valley, for He is with you, His rod and His staff will comfort you. Listen to His Word of comfort: “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”.
As you walk through this valley, Pilgrim, are any memories being stirred in your mind? Does any of this look familiar to you? In this valley of darkness, there are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay on its paths (Job 24:13). All their days they eat in darkness, with great frustration, affliction and anger (Ecclesiastes 5:17). They are prisoners, sitting in darkness, suffering in iron chains (Psalm 107:10).
Ah, Pilgrim, I see a look of realization dawning upon you – this is where you and I used to dwell! We were willing subjects of the dominion of darkness. We did not want to come to the light, for fear that our deeds of evil would be exposed (John 3:19-20). We thought the darkness would hide us. We thought even light would become night around us, and that we could keep our faces concealed. We committed our deeds of sin in the dark, and made friends with the terrors of darkness (Job 24:13-17).
And then we saw something, dear Pilgrim. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned (Isaiah 9:2). And then we heard something, dear Pilgrim. We heard Him call! He called us! He called us out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9)! And as we turned our faces towards the Light, He brought us out of darkness, out of utter darkness, and broke away our chains (Psalm 107:14)!
Pilgrim, take heart from the fact that your dislike of this valley is so intense. This is a sign of His grace towards you! For He has rescued you from the dominion of darkness and brought you into the kingdom of the Son He loves (Colossians 1:13)! You are now a child of the light and a child of the day. You do not belong to the night or to the darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5)!
For the Lord our God is making distinctions, Pilgrim. He is making distinctions between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not (Malachi 3:18). At the dawn of creation, He saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness (Genesis 1:4). He brought a plague of darkness upon Egypt, a darkness that could be felt, so that the people of Egypt could not see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived (Exodus 10:21-23). As He delivered His people from Egypt and brought them to the sea, His pillar of cloud stood between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other (Exodus 14:19-20). See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you (Isaiah 60:2). The Lord our God is making distinctions, Pilgrim.
So do not fear as you pass through the valley of deep darkness, dear Pilgrim. This is no longer the place of your abode. You are now a foreigner, an alien, a stranger, to this valley. It no longer has any hold over you. For the darkness is passing, the true Light is already shining (1 John 2:8). For He who is the Light of the world is with you, and His words are true: “Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). So even here, as you cross the valley of deep darkness, the Light of Life is with you, precious Pilgrim. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5)! He is your lamp, and He will turn your darkness into light (2 Samuel 22:29). Even in darkness, light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous (Psalm 112:4).
So take courage, dear Pilgrim. You will pass through this valley. For this is not your home. You are heading for the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, whose gates are never shut, for there will be no night there (Revelation 21:25). No night! For God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). There will be no night there, and there will be no need for a lamp, or the sun, for He Himself will give the light (Revelation 22:5)! What a glorious hope this is to meditate upon as you pass through this valley.