Written by Jill Haskins - Heartland Church - Fort Wayne, IN
Illustration by Rhonda Logan Bailey
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 ESV).
It’s been 11 years dwelling in the shadow of death. First was the death of our infant son. The second was the unexpected death of my dad just 15 months later. There have been losses of significant relationships, broken trust, and heartbreak. It’s been 11 years of dying to my old ways, allowing the Lord to break me, mold me, and define me.
PTSD, anxiety, depression, abuse, and physical, mental, and spiritual exhaustion. These have all defined my life for the past 11 years. Undoubtedly, some caused by trauma of my mind/body/soul suffered from the losses of my son and father. Some by the broken relationships of people I loved and trusted. All allowed by a sovereign Lord to lead me to His feet in surrender.
I’ve been living in the shadow of death for far too long! The Lord has slowly been coaxing me out of the shadow into His healing light.
In all of it, He has been with me. His discipline, His comfort, His peace, His Son, His healing — they have all changed me to become more like Him. I’m learning not to fear because He has shown that His rod and staff are worthy of trust.
As I find my way out of the shadow, it’s only because His rod and staff are leading me. I find freedom and healing in a new shadow of death. It’s the shadow of His blood that has purchased me, redeemed me, freed me! It’s in the shadow of His death that life is promised. It’s in the shadow of His death that I know I am safe. What a place of reference to begin 2022!
Pray with me: Lord, thank You for drawing us out of the shadow of death and bringing us to new life through the shadow of Your death. Thank You that we can trust You, knowing that You are good. Thank You for gently leading us to places that we do not want to go, because You know it is best for us. Forgive us for the times we’ve lived in fear and doubt of who You are. Amen.