Yea, though I walk…

Team AO,

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. – (King David) Psalms 23

Many of us have read this verse or heard it recited at a funeral in consolation to the bereaved family. This Psalm is sung often to encourage anyone that is suffering with severe sickness or facing dangerous situations, but I want to provide another view of this song of hope. Let’s face it, we are all dying, some just more imminently than others.  We face life threatening situations on a daily basis, travelling in a metal projectile at 70 miles per hour down the highway. The valley of the shadow of death is not just about cheating physical death.  Often we find ourselves in dead-end jobs, dead-end relationships, and walking among dead-end friends.  Is it possible that the shadow of death extends it’s menacing silhouette over the living more than the dying?

In his book, “Peaks and Valleys“, Spencer Johnson states, “Valleys are times when we long for what is missing.”  This longing for love, purpose, companionship, or attention, can be very trying and emotional.  Many people struggle with depression as a result of these long and winding valleys, and slowly hope starts to die.  It has been said that we can live for weeks without food, days without water, but without hope we will surely die soon. Millions of us find ourselves at some point walking through a personal valley of hopelessness.  As the psalmist wrote, the biggest danger of hopelessness is becoming afraid…afraid to try, afraid to believe, afraid to trust and forge ahead.  Fear is paralyzing,  and when we stop moving we start dying.  Notice in the psalm that David was walking through the valley, not standing, or sitting. Action conquers fear, so we like David must learn to talk ourselves into action and over fear.

As we build and expand our community, we undoubtedly will meet many people walking though valleys of despair.  Families are falling apart, millions are in financial distress, our freedoms are being eroded, and many have lost faith in God, but we bring hope.  Not because you or I have been endowed with valley survival skills from birth, but because you and I are a part of LIFE.  Our founders and leaders have learned to overcome the valleys encompassed in the 8F’s, and we that are walking through, can learn a new language of hope and reliance upon God.  I subscribe to all three LIFE subscriptions because I know that I cannot afford to revert back to fear and paralysis in my life.  I must forge ahead, and I need monthly, weekly and daily reminders of the greatness that God has planted within me.  LIFE is guaranteed to bring us many valleys, but we here on TEAM/LIFE have come to find comfort in knowing that God is our refuge, and His principles found in the Bible, serve as a foundation for our business. Keep walking, don’t be afraid, and find comfort not in escaping the valley, but in learning from the experience.


  1. Raymond this is awesome. It has motivated me to revisit my list. I realize that I have not moved not only because of the fear, but also because there is comfort in that fear. If you sit still in the valley long enough it becomes familiar and that familiarity can be motivation in itself. I know what to expect.

    I know you didn’t post this just for me, but thank you for posting just for me. 🙂


  2. Wow, Raymond. How appropriate your words are. I know you and Tina are holding tightly to God’s promises. And, you so humbly take your responsibility in spreading Truth. We are in this battle with you. We will listen, share and grow along this journey and pray we will be given even more opportunity and wisdom to lead. Tracy

  3. Raymond, thanks for writing on this psalm. It stirs up faith in the inner man and is a source of strength and peace. It is a reminder that we will not pass through this life without difficulties and challenges, but it also gives us the assurance that as we continue to walk by faith, we will be victorious in the end!

  4. Oh how I love your nuggets of wisdom concerning God’s word. Wonderful post!!

    As I think about the valley, I can’t help but think of the word THROUGH. It’s is in “through” that we discover our strength. It is through that we grow thick skin yet help our hearts to become soft. It is in “through”that we are tried and get to claim victory even in the valley. It is in the going “through” that we later get to look back on the valley and see with new eyes of confidence that he truly never forsakes us and that victory is on the other side!

    It’s been said that we are either in a storm, coming out of a storm or bracing ourselves for the next storm. But team AO I am here to tell you that in the valley’s of LIFE there are tons of lessons and blessing. Go through them and know that they come to make us strong.



  5. I don’t know how you do it Raymond other than it is God’s wisdom speaking through you. This information about peaks and valleys is such a great read.

    What an incredible Leader you are and a blessing to us all. Thank you!

  6. So many nuggets in this post. I love the question “Is it possible that the shadow of death extends it’s menacing silhouette over the living more than the dying?” It’s the valley of the SHADOW of “death” but there are no shadows without light. We tend to see the large shadow and forget about the Light that creates the shadow’s existence. Like you said, “Keep walking, don’t be afraid, and find comfort not in escaping the valley, but in learning from the experience.”

    It was great meeting you and your wife in Ohio this past weekend. It looks like you’ve prepared yourself and your team for big things in 2012 and beyond. I am looking forward to seeing it happen. You deserve it.

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