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Psalm 23:4 Yea, thou I walk thru 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. (KJV)
So, how many times have you read that, just as I have, and really not thought much about what that verse may mean to you. I know that as a child, I memorized that entire Psalm, and throughout my life, read it over and over, not really meditating on exactly what that verse really means to me.
Then on December 4, 2007, that all changed.
That was the day that my youngest daughter was given the sudden diagnosis of Acute Meyloid Leukemia at 18 months old. That was the day that my life changed forever. That was the day that Psalm 23:4, really came alive in my life.
You see, by no choice of my own, I was taken on a journey thru the valley of the shadow of death, literally. When the doctor came in the room with the news and after my brain tried to process the information I was just given, I had to stop and remember that my daughter was in God’s hands.
Now, was that easy?
Let me say a resounding, “NO!”
While holding her little body in the backseat of my car, on the way to St. Jude in Memphis, Tn – that very evening we were given the diagnosis.
Thru the tears, I had to remember that the Lord was with me. I had to bring back to my remembrance Psalm 23:4 and realize that God’s Word was alive and working in my daughter’s life and in my life.
You see, that verse also says that even though we walk thru the valley of the shadow of death, that God is with us. He is there, comforting us. And also notice that verse says that we walk thru the valley, we do not stay in the valley and set up camp there.
So during the long treatments of chemo, countless blood and platelet transfusions, and the loss of my daughter’s beautiful head full of brown hair during our 6 month stay at St. Jude, I had to keep my focus on my loving Heavenly Father, knowing that He and He alone would bring us safely thru that valley.
“How could you keep your focus and do that?”, you might ask.
Well, I knew, long before I walked this valley, that I could trust in the God that I serve.
“How did you know that?”, you may also wonder.
To answer that, I would have to take you back to the day I asked the Lord to be the King of my heart and life. But that would take up too much space and a lot more time, so I will give you the simplest answer that I can.
It has been a journey. A journey with the Lord by my side, helping me thru all of life’s ups and downs. But I had a part to play on this journey. I had to build a relationship with Him. After all, how do you know that you can really trust someone, until you get to know them and spend time with them. So, that is what I have done and continue to do to this day. I spend time in His Word. I spend time reading scripture like Psalm 28:7 that reads, The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped….
During those days that seem to never end there with my daughter, I had to make my mind focus and bring back to my remembrance what God’s Word says about trusting in Him. His Word is so FULL of scripture that speaks of how we, as His children, can fully trust in Him, come what may.
But we have a part to play in this as well.
We have to know what His Word says about us, His children and we have to believe it and let that Word penetrate our hearts and our minds.
No matter what sudden crisis or calamity may come to us at any moment, we have to set our mind on the precious promises of God’s Word and know that His Word is very real and alive and working in our lives.
We have to already have our hearts established before crisis comes, like Psalm 112:7 states, He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is firmly fixed, trusting (leaning on and being confident) in the Lord. (AMP)
After walking thru that valley and making it to the other side safely with my daughter’s health in tact, you may think that I have “arrived” when it comes to trusting fully in my God. After all, my daughter’s life hung in the balance and I had no where to turn but to God. But you know what? Even after fighting that battle and winning 7 years ago now, I still have times, lots of times, in my life that I have to bring back to my remembrance how faithful my God has been to me in the past, how He has brought me thru and how He will continue to see me thru anything that life may bring my way.
Trusting in God is truly a journey. And that journey of trusting in Him will not end, until the day He calls us, His beloved, to our true home in Heaven. Then, we will see in full view, how foolish we were to ever doubt His love for us and His plan for our lives.
Renee Young is a loving wife and homeschooling mom of two. Mother of a precious, cancer survivor. She loves the Lord with all her heart and is passionate about encouraging others in God’s word.