“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” David proclaimed three thousand years ago. David’s life included plenty of suffering – some of it of his own doing, the result of sins and secrets that he had wished to bury but couldn’t. Often we idealize the Davidic kingship as a golden age of sorts for Israel. Sure, it was better than the disobedient and civil war-prone divided kingdom that came later, but it was no Hallmark Channel either. In his own lifetime, David walked through “the valley of the shadow of death” many a time, as at various points he faced threats on his life from his father-in-law, one of his sons, and some former allies and friends. Yet he knew God was always with him.

What if the valley never seems to end, and what if there is no God?