"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." Psa 23:4 (KJV)
At one point or another, we all find ourselves in the depths of despair. There are times that we, through a variety of circumstances, can find ourselves hanging on to hope by our fingernails. Our situational surroundings are threatening and seem to have no opportunity for escape. These can be derived from soured relationships, failing health, unjust persecution or financial woes.
In Gen 37, youthful Joseph found himself in this situation. Guilty of no more that youthful exuberance about his dreams and steadfastness about his responsibilities, he inspired the hatred of his brothers. They hated him so much that they plotted to take his life. Talked out of it by one of their own, they stripped him, threw him into a deep hole, sold him into slavery and reported him as dead to their father. Imagine what must have been going through Joseph's mind. Think about what goes through your own in your valleys.
Beloved, the good news is that despite Joseph's terrible circumstances, God was with him. Gen 39:4 tells us, "And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand." Even better news is that the same God who was with Joseph is with you. Though you may be experiencing the lowest lows, God does not abandon you but guides you through. He is our great Shepherd and shepherds lead, guide, feed and protect from the front, not from behind. The comfort we derive from the rod and staff is the knowledge that God is always there, even in the valley of the shadow of death. Let us have no fear.