"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD...He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." Micah 4:2

Friday, March 02, 2012

Valley of the Shadow of Death

This challenge to climb to a higher calling "in Christ Jesus" sounds exhilarating and exciting, but where there are mountains, there are also deep valleys the called pilgrim must trek. Some of these are dark, tangled full of shadows, and the unknown swallows each step. There are times when climbing higher in full trust of the Shepherd is beyond my wildest dreams, but this week, the valley loomed before me, with dark shadows and foreboding thoughts.
"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..."
These words haunt every corner of my house. Every waking moment is focused on the welfare of my elderly Dad. Every choice is made considering his care. Constantly, I check his blood pressure, oxygen, heart rate, and even watch anxiously as his ankles swell with fluid retention. In quiet moments, I gaze on his sleeping face, sketched with pain and age. 
Even as I type, I'm sitting in the dark at his bedside. He sleeps now, just a few passing hours since we  had cried together at his loss and confusion. A simple TIA (mini stroke), leaving his right arm lying limp at his side, scared us with the reality of the shadow lurking around us.
Not wanting to believe the weakness of his arm, he tried to stand and make his usual trek to the bathroom, but slumped backwards with the realization that his right leg would not hold him, nor his hand hold the handle of his walker.
Fear wanted to swallow our courage

Now, 36 hours have passed in the valley that defines our lives, but we are progressing toward the Kingdom. I became my dad's right side, and throughout our second day and night, we gingerly took each step until he gained his own ability to walk. First, it was just the struggle to the edge of the bed to dangle his feet, then, to stand, and finally, hours later, to a triumphant limp behind his walker into the bathroom in his own strength. I am so proud of him.
This valley has been long and full of the unknown. Each hesitating step causes our heart to quake and call out to our Shepherd for strength and guidance.
We cling in faith to God's promised Presence, and claim his Word as reality, and although each step is full of shadows with moments full with fears, we know His Presence.
"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." 
His breathing is hard, panting, as his lungs compensate the weary heart. He sleeps.
What a blessing sleep is!
"I will fear NO EVIL..." 
We may fear the unknown, our weakness, and our inadequacies, but we do not fear evil. There is no evil in the arms of Jesus. Dad continues into this valley of the shadow of death, but, even now, Dad peacefully sleeps because he knows the Shepherd's promise is secure.
The Shepherd promised His Presence...and Dad knows the Shepherd's words are trustworthy.
"For thou are with me."

1 comment:

ole Wooden Eye Willy said...

Wow!................ Whew!Ah there the lump choking my ability to swallow or breath has softened.

Such sweet writing, Doe ...Please keep at it.