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Dark Valleys and the Good Shepherd


Logan Runnalls introduces Into the Valley: Spiritual Reflections on Depression with these words: “The following is a series of explorations into my depression and my healing. It is part confession and part question. This is my heart as I know it. There are no new secrets to success revealed in this book. The one great secret was made known long ago in the God-man, Jesus Christ. While the darkness that I have wrestled with might be unique in many ways, the Light that has revealed my heart to me is constant and available to all.”

Our Shepherd is always with us, even in the darkest of valleys (v. 4). Generations of readers treasured this translation: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” This might include any kind of peril, danger, or suffering. Evil is the cause of such things, not in the sense of personal wrongdoing but in the sense that sin has corrupted and spoiled the world as it should be.

What matters is that we do not endure it alone. Our loving Shepherd walks with us every step of the way (v. 1). His rod and staff symbolize His protection, rescue, guidance, and authority.

The spiritual geography of this psalm includes more than dark valleys. We also have “green pastures” and “quiet waters,” meaning times of blessing, refreshment, contentment, and abundance (vv. 2–3). There is a banquet table at which David is the honored (anointed) guest (vv. 5–6). God is the sovereign King, and David as king of Israel is His vassal and guest—and thus totally secure in the face of his enemies. Instead of running from them, he’s being “chased” by God’s goodness and love. His cup overflows with blessings!

Pray with Us

In conclusion, please put these Digital Marketing team members on your list: Dominic Kindler, David Kyrouac, Andrew Youngquist, and Alexandra Horn. Pray that God would give them creativity, inspiration, joy, and perseverance in their service.

BY Brad Baurain

Bradley Baurain is Associate Professor and Program Head of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at Moody Bible Institute. Bradley has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has just published his first book, On Waiting Well. Bradley taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Bradley and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Northwest Indiana.

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