Sunday, October 28, 2012

Through the Valley - Day 29

Tears coursed down her cheeks as she told me the story. Many years had passed, but the memory was as fresh as today. Her Mother had fought valiantly against the cancer that consumed her body, but it was clear the battle was nearly over. She lay on a hospital bed in the living room - a dearly loved daughter and husband constantly by her bedside.

I had known the family nearly all my life. This daughter, my sister-in-law, several years younger than I had become like a sister to me. We talked easily about the things stored deep within our hearts. We've been through a lot together. So I felt I could ask the question - one I'd pondered off and on for a long time.

"Was she afraid?"

It seemed a foolish question. Her Mother was a strong Christian. She had served on all of the same boards as my own Mother; they had been good friends. Her faith was without question. Still I wondered. How is it for a child of God knowing they will soon be going home?

Her answer surprised me. "Yes," she said, "she was."

In fact, she became so troubled they called their Pastor and asked him to come and visit. This sweet, Godly woman tearfully told him of her fear - the fear of going into the unknown - alone.

He listened. He didn't admonish her for being fearful, instead he tenderly assured her she would never be alone. He read from the 23th Psalm:

"Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
    when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
    makes me feel secure."
(The Msg.)

Our journey will one day take each of us through the valley of the shadow of death, but we will not walk alone. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us - not for one single second. Those words falling on the ears of a dying woman brought her peace. Just a gentle reminder that we are always in His presence. We have nothing to fear.

Our Father understands the things that make us tremble. We know heaven is perfect and wonderful in every way. It is the going - the way we must travel - that can cause us to be afraid. So He promises we won't have to travel alone. He will walk beside us and bring us safely home.