Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Pastor (11/30/06)
TITLE: Valley of the Shadows
By Stacey LaMontagne
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“Honey, breakfast is ready. Are you...” I stopped as I realized I was all alone.
Overcome with the emotion, I fell to my knees by his chair and wept.
Oh my Lord, what do I do? It is so hard to have lost so much this year. I don’t feel like celebrating Christmas. My parents want me to come and stay with them for the holidays. The church has said I can be off for as long as I need. How long do I need? Can I go back? Should I go back?
I need direction, Father. Calm my fears, strengthen my heart, show me how to glorify you in this one. When Chris died, Lord, I thought we had lost the most important thing in our lives. We knew that being a pastor’s son was not easy for him, but we had no idea how much he struggled with peer pressure.
The boys thought it would be fun to play that dumb game with the gun. None of them had any idea that they could really get hurt. Corey told us when we visited him in prison, that he was sorry. Lord, you filled my heart with compassion and love for that boy. Joe and I ached for our son back, but we also wanted you to be glorified in this somehow.
When we told Corey that Jesus would forgive him and so would we, he was broken. We prayed together in the prison. Charges were dropped and the case was ruled an accident. On the following Sunday, Lord, I presented him to the church, with pride and love. It spoke volumes to many that we could lead the one who had killed our son to you. As hard as it was to overcome the grief of losing our only son, we knew that you worked all things for our good.
Dear Jesus, where is the glory in cancer? Just 6 months after Chris died, Joe got so ill. They thought they diagnosed him soon enough. They hoped that treatment would free him from that horrible disease that began to take over his liver and other organs. We all prayed so hard. Aren’t pastors supposed to have immunity?
Joe loved his church; the people were his life. The children would come to him during the kid’s sermon and surround him with wide eyes as he taught them about you. He could have done so much more for you. Why did you take him home now?
“Dry your tears, Suzanne. I hear your heart’s cry. I know the pain you feel. I can turn your mourning to joy. Trust in me. Come here, my child. Let me hold you and comfort you. Joe and Chris are here with me and they want you to go on living. Continue in the work I have set before you. I anointed Joe and you in this ministry. You are still there. The calling is still for you. Let me lead you and I will be glorified through you. I love you.” The Father whispered this to me today and I wrote it down in my prayer journal.
To my surprise, the phone rang after I dried my tears and cleaned up the kitchen. The deacon board was meeting tonight and wondering if I wanted to continue being secretary for the new pastor. After my time with the Lord today, I know I am called to this ministry still. I know some days there will be tears and there will be adjustments to be made. I pray God will continue to make me useful to Him. He is now my husband and companion. I will walk with Him.
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