Everyone has suffered a loss (or some losses) in his lifetime. Even if you haven’t had a family member die, I’ll bet you’ve had some kind of disappointment – marriage troubles, children troubles, work troubles. Death isn’t the only reason for grieving.
Grief changes everything, doesn’t it? I used to think (before I had ever walked through the valley of the shadow of death) that once on the other side, you would get back to the way you used to be; that you would be okay again. Now I know better.
You never go back. You just become different. It’s not all a bad thing though. You certainly appreciate people more than you used to. You know better what really matters and what is just fluff. But you never go back.
So, I’m not sure why we try to go back. Look what is on the other side of the valley of the shadow of death. Something I hadn’t noticed before:
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil
My cup overflows
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:5-6)
There is a special meaning to each one of these things. Preparing a table for you in the presence of your enemies literally means that you are being honored while those who persecuted you are forced to watch you being honored.
Anointing oil was used for healing and for setting someone apart for a special purpose. It meant being chosen (in a good way).
My cup overflows is pretty self-explanatory. We have more than enough good things, and those good things and mercy (grace) will pursue us for the rest of our lives.
Dwelling in the house of the Lord is like being brought to live with the King who loves you. You will never have to be an orphan or unwanted.
If you’ve been through the valley of the shadow of death like I have, then please be comforted and have great joy. You are special. You are chosen. You are greatly loved.
This Friday will be the fifth anniversary of my daughter Julie’s car accident. Tuesday the 22nd will be the fifth anniversary of her death. I am not looking forward to going through that valley again and feeling the pain of an open wound yet again.
But I know what waits for me on the other side. And more importantly, I know who walks with me through that valley every single time I go through it. Take it from someone who knows that her Good Shepherd loves her and will never leave her alone.
Take it from someone who knows that this same Jesus loves you too my friend.