Today’s Scripture: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 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. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Psalm 23

From the moment Mary’s mother, Jena, was diagnosed with terminal cancer until the time of her death, Mary’s friends pitched in and did whatever they could do to help. Mary appreciated the assistance very much. On the day of the funeral, the friends were there again showing their support and care.

Three months later, most of Mary’s friends have gone on with their lives. Mary doesn’t blame them. She knows all that they had done for her when she was going through the trial. She knows they had sacrificed and given to her.

While Mary knows her mother is in Heaven, she misses her deeply. Mary is walking through the dark valley now. She will come out on the other side hand in hand with the Shepherd of her soul, Jesus, but for the moment, she feels pretty alone.

When it really comes down to it, no matter how much friends help us, it is only our Shepherd Who goes through the valley with us. It is only the Lord Jesus Who really understands.

When Jesus hung on the cross, He said, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” At that moment, God had turned His back on His own Son as He took on Himself the sins of the world. Jesus was willing to be alone so we would never have to be.

Maybe you understand right now how Mary feels. Remember, though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you aren’t alone. Your Shepherd walks with you.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder