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The Valley of The Shadow
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Larry Lilly's Letter Thursday March 27, 2008
In July 2007 Christianity Today published a piece by Tony Snow who was dealing as best he could with the news of cancer. I was deeply moved by the article and especially by today's excerpt.
"The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But is also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs and epiphanies."
Mr. Snow graphically comes to grips with the reality of death. Nothing is more transforming or devastating, one or the other, than facing the "Grim Reaper" head on. Many people when faced with impending death, commit suicide as though this in some gruesome way steals the joy from the rider of the horse with fiery hoofs. Others, as did Tony, face it and realize that life is precious, more precious than most things people are willing to risk it to gain, and they cherish each moment, each event and each person. Tony plainly states that his faith in Christ helped him to understand and appreciate as never before that faith in the Lord is not some sickening soft and fuzzy belief, but a faith that is filled descriptive words of thrills, boldness, danger, shocks etc.
Over the years I have noticed that most people do not catch onto the subtlety of David's words in Psalm 23 concerning the Valley of the Shadow of Death. During the span of a normal life, the power of the phrase is lost for meaning until; until you are faced, eyeball to eyeball with what many think is a specter. The illustrations of the Valley of The Shadow are myriad, the summation being that shadows do not hurt anyone. With faith death becomes but a shadow of the real thing.
According to a geographical study of the Holy Land, as place called the Valley of The Shadow of Death actually exists and is mentioned in numerous articles. Getting to the green grazing pastures involved going through this often dangerous place, yet David has comforted millions through the centuries with this metaphor, the idea being that what waits on the other side makes the trip more than worthwhile.
Many see the light concerning their loved ones in that they face the fact that they do love them. I have talked with countless men and women over the years who as the moment drew nearer, admitted taking each other for granted and failing to speak the words of love seriously. On a "final" vacation they come to grips with the truth that they really should have done this more, that the good Lord had brought them together and in so doing intended for them to rip time from a million other necessities and smell the roses with each other.
Those to whom God gives the gift of seeing the Rider approaching are blessed in that they are forced to take time for the one they love the most. Others should realize that death can and often does come swiftly, without any warning whatsoever, thus they should live today as though they received notice this "today" is the final one. It could be.
Larry Lilly Copyright © 2008 Use with credit
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Reader Count & Comments
28 Mar 2008
Your message is timeless--We have no promise of tomorrow. The present is a 'present' we need to open and use wisely. Excellent, Godly wisdom.
28 Mar 2008
Your article was "jeweled" in the Cheering Section of the F.W. Message Boards. Come and check it out by clicking here:
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28 Mar 2008
There is much to consider in this eloquently written letter. Thank you!
28 Mar 2008
Your article is professional and well-written, but still has plenty of heart. Nice writing.
26 Mar 2008
Much to ponder here. Very well-written. Great tie-in to Tony Snow's wisdom, and your application is timely. So much to learn in the valley when we're there.
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