June 26, 2010

Escorting Grace

Psalm 23

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Psalm 23:4


The word through involves a three-step process—into, in, and out of. David wrote about walking “through the valley of the shadow of death.” Into the valley, in the valley, out of the valley.

In the song “Amazing Grace” we sing, “Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come.” In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress reluctant Christiana is invited to join a pilgrimage. But she is warned, “The bitter is before the sweet. Thou must through troubles … enter this Celestial City.”

The “into” and “in” of the shadow of death—and especially death itself—is bitter. So we are assured, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

As F. B. Meyer wrote—about death—“We are well-escorted.” The escort is grace. “’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” The “out of” will be sweet.

But through can also mean “by means of.” “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2). We gain heaven through (by means of) Christ’s death. We enter heaven through (by means of) our own well-escorted death. As our loving God promises, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2).

God of abounding grace, we thank you today for your escorting grace, whether we are going into, living in, or passing out of any difficulty. Through Jesus Christ, Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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