CCCNZ Ambassador Mark Grace
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me".
This season can feel like walking in the valley of the shadow of death.
For a number of church families in the New Zealand church it already means death—the death of loved members and leaders.
For those in ministry, the valley’s shadow of death casts itself across so much. The decay of a clear sense of direction. The disintegration of future plans and projects. The demise of certainty. The downfall of clarity.
All of this leads to the death of confidence in the calendar, distance between the old ways of being a community of faith and what is required now. This shadow doesn’t shade—it saps, it drains, it exhausts.
But listen for the quiet confidence: the resolve, the depth of conviction in David's words.
Our confidence is not in the western world's provision of stability, predictability, and therefore certainty. Our confidence is not in our inherited ministry methods and models. Our confidence is not in our facilities, programmes, or activities.
The reason you will not fear evil, in this season, in this space, in this valley, is simply this:
Jesus is with us.
He’s with us in the valley. He’s not leading us around it or over it. He is with us in it. Our confidence in the valley of the shadow of death is the shade of Jesus.
He is with you! Here and now.
Jesus’s rod is protecting us and his staff is keeping us close to him.
He and his work are our comfort.
He and his work are our confidence.
He and his work are our clarity.
Therefore, we can walk, and keep walking. The one who walked to the cross and walked out of the tomb is the one who walks with us.