The Good Shepherd & The Valley of Death

Sometimes I think I write to ensure I am staving off death. I mean, while I’m writing my books, and hopefully I am writing them with God at my ear and whispering into my heart, it’s not like he’s going to let me die, right?

Other times I feel like writing is something gives my life meaning – no small motivation for me.

I’ve never really thought much about the contradictory nature of those sentiments in those terms. But I have thought of them before, and I like to work it out in my writing.

I’ve never known what death feels like, and I’ve always been a bit curious (not overly curious, mind you). After reading Max Lucado’s Traveling Light and also his Fearless book (I’m a big fan of his apparently), I think I have more of a good understanding of why it was never clear to me.

In traditional, secular American culture, the Grim Reaper is a persistent figure. I’ve never really watched the Scream films, and I’m not much of a horror fan (unless M. Night Shyamalan is involved). But I think it’s a perception of what people feel like death has to offer.


The Grim Reaper seems dark and mysterious, frightening and possibly violent. In contrast to this, Jesus Christ has to offer us himself – the Good Shepherd.


And with the Good Shepherd, we don’t just see him in death. We get to see him throughout life, too. In the hard times, as we walk through the valley of shadow and death, he will carry us, and in the times we are lost, we can count on him to find us, lift us on his shoulders, and celebrate with his father that we are found.

Seeing the similarities in form – the long robes, the scythe and the crook, the hooded figure – I see it all the more clearly: It is natural to fear death.

But it is supernatural to face everlasting life.


2 thoughts on “The Good Shepherd & The Valley of Death

  1. Very clearly and concisely written with points well-made. Your ending statement is especially poignant: “It is natural to fear death; but it is supernatural to face everlasting life.”


    1. Thanks! Some people in my family are going through a rough patch with cancer, and I’m hoping it will comfort them. Psalm 23 is legendary for comforting people near death, but I wanted to help show why it is very comforting to Christians.

      Liked by 1 person

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