Livin’ in the Valley of the Shadow

 

My dear father-in-law has been in constant, unrelenting pain for over 4 months.  The toll this has taken on his body, mind, and spirit has been heartbreaking.  This incredible man came home from his tour of duty in WWII to meet his  firstborn son who was born while he was overseas, only to kiss him and his wife goodbye to go back for a second tour, convinced he would never see them again. (I am soooo grateful that he did, my dh was child #5, born much later.)  He worked hard all his life, farming the land, raising a family of six children, a leader in the church and community, taking a second job every year at Thanksgiving to earn enough money for Christmas presents….I could go on and on.  He is/was such a  great father too.  His children are some of the nicest, most decent people I have ever met.  Even as recently as January, he has lived an active and vibrant life; so when I see the effect this pain has taken on him, my heart screams NOOOOOO!  This is so unnatural.  It feels as though we are watching him walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  At age 86, I know this is a very real possibility.  As I was thinking about this the other day, the Lord revealed to me that it is not just my father in law who is walking through the valley of the shadow.  We all are.  We are born into it and journey through it all our lives.  Any joy we feel is only a shadow of joy.  We do not step into the sunshine until we reach our heavenly home.  I think about how good sunshine feels on my back and shoulders on a cool and cloudy day.  I think about how good it felt to take a full, deep breath after struggling through a bad respiratory flu this spring.  I think about the effect sin has had on my own body, mind, and spirit lately…..and I long to be home, walkin’ in the sunshine. Post Script:  John took his dad to a specialist at Loyola yesterday who thinks he can help.  He is scheduled for surgery next Thursday to rebuild the crushed vertebra and hopefully bring an end to this pain.    

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