"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."
I hear this verse a lot, and to me it brings to mind funerals. People seem to read this one at them a lot... at least on television. :) Today it struck me though, and I thought about it a little more. To me, it doesn't really seem like a scripture for the dead... but for the living. Even in the worst times, including facing death or anything similarly scary, we don't have to fear evil. God is with us. The rod and staff part is interesting. They are implements used by shepherds in tending sheep. The rod is typically used to fight off danger to the sheep, and the staff is used to guide and correct... prodding them to go back to the group if they are wandering off, etc. :)
I think that it does provide a lot of comfort in our lives to know that God will protect us, and also that he will correct us. Only a really horrible uncaring shepherd would just stand there and let a sheep wander off... because he knows that it will get lost, and quite possibly eaten. The shepherd cares about the sheep, and will prompt the sheep to return to the flock. Sheep don't always listen of course, and as humans, we definitely don't always listen when God warns us or encourages us to come back. Sometimes we wait until a wolf takes a big bite before we call for the shepherd. But it is still comforting that when we call, God hears us... that we don't have to face the world, or evil, alone.
Today, whatever we face, however scary, let's look to God and accept his guidance, and his protection.