Bible, Main, Teaching, z19, z32
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Finding your way through the valley of despair


Finding the right path through despair. Photo aha42 | tehaha/Foter/CC BY-NC

God has a path through despair. Photo aha42 | tehaha/Foter/CC BY-NC

Recently, in a Sunday morning message, a friend shared about the loss of his two-year old grandson to cancer. Doctors diagnosed Lucien with leukemia early in his first year.  Cancer treatments and long hospital stays were the norm for this family.

The promise of remission brought hope. Sadly, the cancer returned. Two years, two months and two days from his birth, Lucien passed.

The prayer and support Lucien’s family received from their church and community during this time was phenomenal.

Lucien, in his short time on earth, had become a celebrity in his own right. As well, his young and talented parents became well-known as they bravely fought their greatest battle sharing their journey through Facebook, photos and videos. Their Celtic music brought them reprieve in the dark days following their son’s passing.

Gary, the grandfather, shared about the decision he personally faced following his grandson’s death.

The family fought the hardest battle of their lives as they hoped, prayed and fasted for Lucien’s recovery. The previous two years had taken every ounce of emotional, physical and  spiritual strength they had.

Now, he found himself standing in an unfamiliar place. A place of despair where questions edged with bitterness haunted him.

He identified with King David and his men who had fought and won a great battle.  They returned home to find their town burned to the ground and their wives and children taken into captivity.

His men grumbled and talked about stoning him.

Gary began to understand King David who stood in the ashes of defeat after fighting one of the greatest battles of his life.  Why would God do this to him?

He  shared, “the battle was, will we choose God’s presence in our grief?”

Like David, he  had a choice to make and referred to Moses’ words:

“Now listen!  Today, I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.” (Deuteronomy 30:15 NLT)

We are vulnerable in moments when we are not thinking clearly.  We may be angry, sad, bitter, confused or grieving.  The choices we make during these times will either give life or take life from us. 1 Samuel 30:6 describes David’s agony:

“David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters.” (1 Samuel 30:6)

David had a choice to make. It was  a brave choice taking all the strength and courage he could muster.

“David encouraged himself in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6)

He stood in the middle of the ashes and  encouraged himself affirming his relationship with God.

“He reminded himself of God’s faithfulness to him in the past. The many times he had been in peril and God had intervened with direction or physical or divine intervention.” – David Wilkerson

After encouraging himself and validating his place and position with God, David received direction and the strength he needed to go forward into battle.

He went to battle and won a great victory over the enemy who had taken everything from him.  They recovered their wives and children.

David chose life over death, faith over despair  and in the end it brought him a great victory.

Gary made the same choice,  affirming  his relationship with God by reminding himself of God’s faithfulness over the years and moved forward with enthusiasm and the anticipation of good things ahead.

“And David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue this troop?  Shall I overtake them?  The Lord answered him, Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all” (1 Samuel 30:8)

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