Shadow of Death
You can probably recite the verse with me, ….”Yay, 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.” This week has been one of walking through the valley of the shadow of death with my Papua friend, Ida. I have always thought of this verse as pre death, but this week I have taken comfort in these words, in post death. (If you didn’t read last weeks blog here is the link: http://iwillgoruth.blogspot.co.id/2017/10/anguished-hearts.html)
Every day I have been looking for signs of Jesus comforting her. I actually have been surprised at the strength Jesus is giving her each day. Oh……I’m not saying it is easy. There still has been much weeping, sighing, grief, not understanding, lack of energy, not feeling well, but every day Ida has found hope and strength in Christ.
I feel like a cheerleader standing on the sidelines. Encouraging. Shouting words to inspire. Flashing smiles and eye contact. What a privilege to play a tiny part in being the hands and feet of Jesus.
On Thursday Jacob and Nathaniel had a mid day band concert at their International school. I asked Ida if she would like to join. On our way home, she told me it was like going to heaven for her. All the beauty on our International campus. I didn’t know something so simple, would be so refreshing for her.
On Friday, Ida asked me if I would go with her to a counseling appointment. It was painful to sit and hear the whole story of Azarya and how he died. To listen to Ida weep again and hear the loss. Then, the counsellor had her imagine every scene, like a photo in her mind. She reminded Ida of every image, that Ida had shared. It was difficult. And then the counselor invited her to do it again, but this time, in every photo image, to ask Jesus where He was. Oh, it was a hard activity……because Satan would like this young Mommy to believe that Jesus was not there. “Yay, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” In every photo image, in Ida’s mind, she was able to see Jesus.
This summer I met with a long time friend, who is walking through a long long valley. There were parts of her life that she wished were dead. One being her marriage. Together, through prayer, we recognized some of the truths about being in the valley. It is more temperate there and less likely to be exposed to volatile weather. Even though the valley is dry and difficult, there are patches of green grass and beautiful things. She recognized that Jesus was with her in her valley and she was not alone.
And so we walk. Friends in the valley. Side by side. Believing. Hoping. Not understanding. But looking continually to the One who gives life and takes life. I’ve recently been struggling through some frustrating personal news, but my heart is so burdened for so many in the valley that I am hardly noticing my own pain.
Who can you reach out to today? Who can be blessed by your presence? Your intentionally thoughtfulness? Your prayers and time? There isn’t time to stare at our belly buttons. There are too many people wandering in the valley of the shadow of death that need us to walk with them there. Please have the courage to join them there. You will be blessed as you become the hands and feet of Jesus.