Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Saying Goodbye to a loved one is never an easy thing.
Saying Goodbye to someone you admire, respect, and treasure is painful.

Two men in our church, who are giants of the faith, have gone to their eternal reward this week. I have two other friends who have lost loved ones also, this week.

We are walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Here is my take on the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

The journey of life has suddenly plunged my fellow travelers and me on a downward path. It seems we are heading into a valley of sorts.

The road has disintegrated into a path. It is a path laden with stones, pot-holes, and uneven surfaces, but it is well worn. Many have taken this journey before us. And, even still, we realize, yes, we have been here before. We know it as the Valley of Shadow of Death.

The shadows lurk around us. An eery silence of grief and disappointment fill our thoughts and hearts. At times the path deceives us. Are we trapped? Is this the end?

The deep sadness is pervasive. We grope through the darkness to find our way. Sometimes it seems our Creator has abandoned us. The pain is unbearable. The heaviness of loss weighs deep on the soul.

Questions abound. Answers run.

At the moment when it seems trust is gone forever, the glory of the Sun pours through the ominous trees. In an instant, a radiant ray of hope lights the way and the forlorn path is found again.

The Father has set eternity in our hearts. We may not understand His purpose, but we catch a glimpse of His Eternal Hope.

Hope of eternity with the Savior and loved ones sparks a renewed vigor. The way to the Valley of the Shadow of death is still a treacherous journey, but the fusion of hope into our souls has an amazing effect.

Hope breathes life.
Hope ignites passion.
Hope begets faith.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.

The grey landscape of pain and suffering is now dotted with splatters of brilliant color in the peace and comfort of the Redeemer.

He has walked through this valley. He is the One who blazed the trail. He lovingly guards our footsteps.

Hope is abounding! The Valley of the Shadow of Death has lost its sting! The birds are whistling the song of the triumph! The Sun gloriously shines! The heart, once melted with fear and disillusion, now beats a melodious tune of joy and peace.

Grief has not disappeared, for the loneliness of the loved one gone before will be with us until we reach heaven, but hope is not lost.

The pathway through the Valley of the Shadow of Death will not defeat us. We have this Hope that we can share Eternity with our Savior and loved ones who call Him Lord.

This time, instead of walking in isolation, this band of weary travelers unite- arm in arm- hand in hand. As one, we hold up our grief stricken family member and friend.

We encourage.
We take heart in the warmth of friendship and love.
We are not defeated.
We grieve as those with Hope.
Hope of eternity.
Hope of reunion.
Hope of redemption.
Hope of a faith that has stood the test of time and loss.

We have this Hope.

I cling to that Hope.
We cling to that Hope as we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

I will fear no evil for Thou, O Lord, are with me.
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil,
my cup overflows.

goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell
in the house of the Lord


Please keep the families of Frank Cavitt, James Daniels, Emma Barton, and Margaret Woodard in your prayers. We say to these dear ones, "See ya later!"

Our loss is heaven's gain.
We have more to go to heaven for, than we yesterday.

Blessings and prayers today

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