“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
I have a friend who recently had been having some issues with her leg. In deciding to get it checked out, it was found she has stage IV melanoma and had to have a good portion of her femur and her knee removed, and then they would do tests to see where else it had spread in her body. It was very unexpected. When I contacted her to tell her I would be praying for her, her attitude surprised me. She told me she would be shaking in her shoes if it weren’t for knowing the Lord was with her. She is most certainly walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
Many of us have or are walking through that same valley, and it is dark and frightening. But it is certain we will also come to the other side of that valley; some to continue living, and some to pass on to their eternal home. There is no guarantee, only God knows what is on the other side. But when we are on that path we, like my friend, should not be “shaking in our shoes,” because God is right there with us, and if we allow Him, he will comfort us on that journey.
Where do you go for your comfort during those times? Your friends and family can only temporarily accompany you, and then they go back to their own path. But Psalm 23 tells us that God IS with us. Cling to Him tightly. He is the only One who will stay with you and get you through to the other side.
“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” (I Corinthians 12:18)
Are you ever envious of healthy people for the simple fact they are able to do more for God than you are? I have thought to myself that I might have been a missionary to a foreign country if only I were healthy. Or at least I would go on a short-term mission trip! I know I could possibly do more in the church. If only…
If you have ever thought similar things, you have to remember that God has put you right where He wants you. He has made you the part of the body that He needs you to be. And that part of the body has a very important role in the function of the rest of the body. Wherever He has you, it is His high calling for you!
You don’t have to go to a mission field to please God. You will please Him if you fulfill your high calling right where He has you. His high calling for you might be in a sick bed, praying for those missionaries. Your calling might be to help fight the spiritual battle those missionaries need assistance with in prayer. Your high calling might be raising and instructing children to be the next godly generation who influences the world for Christ. If so, you take part in the rewards in Heaven for every soul that is affected by those ministries.
“Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts; and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.” (1 Corinthians 12:29-31)
Unless the Spirit of God is leading you another way, you can rest in the calling He has given you by doing it to the best of your ability. That is His desire.
“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)
Just a short while ago, we had to put our sweet kitty, Truffle, to sleep because of illness. She was honestly the sweetest animal I have ever known. If my husband and I were in the same room, she would first go to one of us, give some loving, and then go over to the other so we both got the same attention. Her love was unconditional and generous. She was never ill-tempered and would always greet us after we returned home from being gone. She seemed to give a perfect love.
But gradually she became quite ill. She always trusted us to protect her from all harm, but when the veterinarian came to our house to euthanize her, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of betrayal. I felt I was betraying her confidence in me to protect her. And I had to watch the life slip from her as I held her. As difficult as it was, I did it out of love for her.
Jesus possesses the actual perfect love. He gives every Christian the same love, and His love is unconditional. But the Heavenly Father had to subject Him to a horrible death on the cross for us. Jesus experienced the feeling of God the Father forsaking Him as He suffered and died.
When I think of Truffle, and how terribly hard it was to subject her to death out of love for her, I have to parallel that to how hard it was for God to subject His Son to physical death out of love for the world.
I believe God sometimes gives us these types of hard moments in life so that we can identify with the magnitude of God’s sacrifice for us. But His perfect love did not die with Him, it was only made more accessible through the cross.