With the recent homegoing of my husband, I have read several Christian books on dealing with loss and grief. If you read Food For Thought last week, you realize the comfort that is found in knowing that when a loved one who knew the Lord leaves this earth, they instantly stand before the throne of God, healed and whole in their new glorified body. For the Christian whose life on earth ends, it is definitely gain. But, for those left here on the earth, a huge void remains. I have experienced grief before, or so I thought. This time my heart took a hit so agonizingly painful that I wonder sometimes how it continues to beat. A person’s absence can be excruciatingly noticeable, especially when they have been there for the last 40 years. I’ve experienced times when I feel like I’m smack dab in the middle of that famous valley. But, God’s Word is ultimately where I must turn to be truly lifted out so I went to the Psalm itself. The NLT puts it this way – “Even when I walk through the darkest valley I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and you staff protect and comfort me.” David wrote these words from his experience. He was a shepherd himself. He knew personally how fiercely he would protect his sheep. He would stop at nothing. Neither the lion nor the bear are a match for a shepherd who loves his flock. That was the best way David knew to describe God’s intense love and concern for His own. I must remind myself that when I’m in that dark valley, I am not there alone. I take much comfort in knowing I will once again experience rest in the green meadows by the peaceful streams. God is close beside us! His goodness and unfailing love not only follow us but they pursue us and will continue to for the rest of our days!
Philippians 1:21 (NKJV)
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Psalm 23:1-6 (NLT)
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. 6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.