Valley of the Shadow of Death


Also found in: Idioms.

Valley of the Shadow of Death

life’s gloominess. [O.T.: Psalms 23:4]
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Let us hear, then, what it is at its best estate--gaze on its bright side, if it has one; and then imagination may task her powers to add dark lines to the picture, as she travels southward to that (for the colored man) Valley of the Shadow of Death, where the Mississippi sweeps along.
He was safe now, but surely never a man before had walked so near the "Valley of the Shadow of Death." A single moment's vigilance relaxed, a blanket displaced, a dose of brandy forgotten, and Trent might have walked this life a multi-millionaire, a peer, a little god amongst his fellows, freed for ever from all anxiety.
Bunyan's road-book, I perceived that we must now be within a few miles of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, into which doleful region, at our present speed, we should plunge much sooner than seemed at all desirable.
As the light of natural day, however, began to struggle with the glow of the lanterns, these vain imaginations lost their vividness, and finally vanished from the first ray of sunshine that greeted our escape from the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Ere we had gone a mile beyond it I could well-nigh have taken my oath that this whole gloomy passage was a dream.
Gaining her end, the letter would be found in her breast, along with the money, and the gentlefolks would say when it was given back to them, 'She prized it, did old Betty Higden; she was true to it; and while she lived, she would never let it be disgraced by falling into the hands of those that she held in horror.' Most illogical, inconsequential, and light- headed, this; but travellers in the valley of the shadow of death are apt to be light-headed; and worn-out old people of low estate have a trick of reasoning as indifferently as they live, and doubtless would appreciate our Poor Law more philosophically on an income of ten thousand a year.
"As to what you say about not seeing you again, I believe not a word of it; with such a heart as yours -- and such a sword -- one passes through the valley of the shadow of death a dozen times, unscathed and unalarmed.
Divine justice pursued its course; disasters came thick on me: I was forced to pass through the valley of the shadow of death. HIS chastisements are mighty; and one smote me which has humbled me for ever.
Together they recited the words of Psalms 23: "The Lord is my Shepherd though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death you're with me " And off went the trapdoor, and Poole dropped down the valley of death.
These are evidenced by the psalmist who says, 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 (Psalms 23:4).
I was comforted by one of the Bible verses my grandmother taught me: "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." That verse has comforted me many times since then, even in war zones.
Readers may come away from this book not so much with a list of answers about why religion exists but, rather, with respect for Pagels for walking through the valley of the shadow of death and emerging whole, still willing to engage life's hardest questions.
As Madiba instructs us: 'There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.'

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