Walking Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

There will be a time for everyone on earth to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Ps 23:4. Job knew the Valley of the Shadow of Death well. Job 10:22. For those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior it will end in the arms of Jesus in Heaven or they will come out of the valley before they reach Heaven so they can finish what God has for them to do on earth. Either way you will never be the same person you were before entering the Valley of the Shadow of death.
The first time I went through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I was a young woman of thirty-two years old. During a long fast I had a dream. In the dream I saw myself walking up a hill approaching another road on the right. The street name on the right was Gaza Street. I knew that Gaza was a desert place. I looked down the hilly street, it had dark shadows and it was scary. I said to the Lord in my dream, “I really don’t want to go down this road.” A long way down the street I saw the Lord standing beaconing me to come. I said, “Yes, Lord.” When I woke up from that dream I knew that I was going to go through something that would be very unpleasant for me, but Jesus would be waiting for me at the end.
In a short time I went from being an active, young, women with four young children to a bedridden woman who could not take care of daily chores. The attacks that came on my mind were unmerciful. Constantly the thoughts came at me, especially during the night. “You are going to die!” At first when the blows came I cried because of the thoughts of leaving my husband and young children.
One of the hardest things to deal with was to know if this was the time the Lord wanted to take me home or if this was an attack from Satan. I did not want to go against the Lord’s time for me so I kept praying for Him to show me His perfect will. I wrestled with that question for months.
Many people were praying for me and one woman in our church suggested that I see a doctor that had helped her regain her health years before. I made an appointment with that doctor. After the tests came in I was given the diagnosis of a blockage in two parts of my heart and I was by that time completely jaundiced – yes, yellow as a pumpkin! My liver was having severe problems functioning. The tests from U.C. Davis that came in on me said that I had the body of an 82 year-old woman on the inside. I was told if I didn’t either have an operation or completely change my life style I had six months until I would have a major heart attack. I was already having small strokes.
My doctor was doing research with a project at U.C. Davis at that time in corporation with doctors in Russia who had great success in reversing conditions like mine. I chose that path because I felt the Lord leading me in that direction through peace that came over me. Lu 1:79. My doctor told me it would be a life walk that would require me to remain on for the rest of my life.
During that time the thoughts grew stronger and harder everyday against my health. Like a seed planted, a thought within begin to grow that God wanted me to live, that this sickness was “not unto death”. Ps 118:18; Isa 9:2. During one of the darkest moments of being attacked in my mind, I picked up the great Sword of the Spirit and began welding it at the thoughts and the enemy of my soul.
My normal Christian life included daily Bible study, but I never had to use Scripture to fight. I knew that it was called the Sword of the Spirit, but I had never had to use it that way. In Scripture I saw that Jesus gave us that pattern when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Three times He said, “It is written.” The enemy didn’t quit the first time even with Jesus, but three times He used Scripture on him. Mt 4:4, 6,7,10.
I began to commit to memory large portions of Scripture and would speak them during my breakfast, lunch and dinner times. Joh 6:51; Joh 1:14. In the mornings I lifted my hands in praise to Jesus, declaring His Word that is alive. In the afternoon I praised the Lord and declared his Words of life. In the evening I thanked Him for every part of the day and declared that I would tell of His words. During the night I would use those Scriptures when attacked. One favorite was, “I shall not die, but live and tell of the works of the Lord.” Ps 118:17.
The attacks didn’t slow for months, but my condition slowly changed. As I lay on that sick bed I began to see myself running a race and breaking the wire in victory. In six months I was able to get up and walk without help. In a year I was out walking four miles a day. My normal skin color returned my slurred speech left and my short term memory improved.
When the two year mark of my journey came I was able to do everything I did before. When I hit the three-year mark of my journey I asked my doctor if I could start running. What a joy it was to be able to run the mountains. I even was able to pace a friend in the Western States 100 mile endurance race. My feet have carried me places where I never thought I could go. Phil 4:13.
Through the years I have walked through the Valley of Shadow of Death several times and come through for my mission on earth is not complete. Our daughter Grace is walking through this valley and now our son, Nathan, is walking through it. He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease a few weeks ago. It has been a hard few weeks for our whole family, but as we have sought the Lord, again Jesus has brought to mind the path through the Valley of Shadow of Death. Grace and Nathan are on the path and where it will end only Jesus knows.
.All people on earth find themselves at one time or another going through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. For Christians there is but one path through this valley. Keep your eyes on Jesus at the end of the valley and use the Sword of the Spirit on the attacks that come your way. Php 4:7. Take in Scriptures as you would your daily meals. Praise Him through it all.
If you are walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death it may be only shadows and you will come out to finish your mission. If you don’t you will have finished your mission on earth and you will be in the arms of Jesus in Heaven. Either way we win!