Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me… – Psalm 23:4
We have all struggled with the pain and suffering in the world. Like me, it may have led you to ask questions. How can I believe in a benevolent God when every day there are such horrible, tragic things happening to people?
One side of my yard is lined with some very overgrown bushes. My neighbour hires a man to come and trim the branches that grow onto his side every so often, and recently he offered to work on my side as well. They’re a little bit out of control right now, he said, They keep growing towards the light but they’re not really growing in the right direction. His comment made me chuckle. The plants have this natural instinct to grow towards the sun, whether or not it looks good or makes the most sense to us.
Kimberly and Rod lived their lives in the same way, reaching towards the light even though it may have seemed that there was only darkness around them. Despite her diagnosis of terminal cancer, Kimberly knew the voice inside of her that said, I created you, and I love you, now remain in My love. Her story reminds me that Truth extends beyond our words, and our ability to reason and make sense of things. Her choice makes me want to follow that same path of yes, whatever circumstances I find myself in.
When their pastor asked them to make this video, Kimberly and Rod were walking through the valley of the shadow of death. They were living some of our worst fears, which would give many people one more reason to say “See! Of course there is no God.“
And yet God was there, not as a far-off idea but as a constant presence, companion and comforter. Their days weren’t easy or void of sadness and tears, but neither were they completely crushed or without hope. Their experience reminds me that we don’t believe in a God who shields us from pain but a God who promises to never leave us or forsake us.
I want to leave you with these helpful words that Rabbi Harold Kushner writes near the end of his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People. I hope they encourage us to keep looking for the Light of Christ and His voice of Love wherever we find ourselves today.
“We do not love God because He is perfect. We do not love Him because He protects us from all harm and keeps evil things from happening to us. We do not love Him because we are afraid of Him, or because He will hurt us if we turn our back on Him. We love Him because He is God, because He is the author of all the beauty and the order around us, the source of our strength and the hope and courage within us, and of other people’s strength and hope and courage with which we are helped in our time of need. We love Him because He is the best part of ourselves and of our world.“ – Rabbi Harold Kushner
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33