Never Alone in the Valley of the Shadow of Death
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me . . .”
One of the hardest things about the COVID pandemic is the loneliness. People are quarantining. Others are sick and need to be taken to the hospital and left there with tight visitor restrictions. But God through His word provides comfort in it all. No matter where you find yourself you are never alone.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
Our rollercoaster week began last Tuesday when Grandpa Henderson was admitted to the hospital with COVID pneumonia. Along with deep concern for his health, our family needed to make difficult decisions about his visitors. According to hospital policy only one person would be able to enter his room for his entire stay. Being the child who lived the closest I was chosen, and over the next days spent many hours sitting with him as he received treatments and care from the compassionate hospital staff.
Each night as the evening hours approached I was required to go home until morning without any other family member to take my place by his side. I knew capable medical staff could meet his needs, but they didn’t love him like his family.
God’s Faithful Promise
One evening as I exited the hospital my heart broke as I thought of my dad alone all night until I could return in the morning. It all felt so cruel and heartless. But suddenly the familiar words of Psalm 23 comforted me like a soft, warm blanket on a chilly night. God affirmed his promise that even in the darkest of times he would never leave or forsake one of his own. Although I was forced to leave, entrusting my father’s care to others, there were no such visitor restrictions for the Lord. He would sit by your Grandpa’s side all through the evening hours as He had done all through the day as well.
The next morning I returned to continue my vigil and discovered they had moved Grandpa to the ICU ward. I sat nearby as he slept. The quiet floor was bereft of other visitors, so I waited alone listening to the gentle swoosh of the breathing apparatus interrupted only by the occasional beeping of the monitors ticking off the minutes. My eyes pooled and I struggled to catch my breath behind the heavy mask I wore. I was grieving alone!
You are Never Alone
But, again, God’s gracious promise suddenly broke through and I felt the Lord’s presence comfort my heart. I was not weeping without a companion. He was there embracing me, catching every tear, and storing each drop in His bottle of remembrance.
Grandpa Henderson is now in heaven with the Lord and I clearly see how delicate and brief life can be. I realize that one day each of us will also traverse the valley of the shadow death. But I can assure you that whether making your own final journey or keeping vigil with a loved one, there is sweet comfort in God’s faithful promise: those who claim Jesus as Savior need never fear evil because He is always with them. And no matter the trying circumstances we may face, one thing is certain – we are never alone!
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