The maple tree outside my office window is just starting to show a hint of red. Beyond that, the marigolds that rimmed the beans in the garden are tall and brilliant yellow and orange (though the beans are long gone!). The coneflowers have all gone to seed, and the burning bushes are blazing red. The grass is green and the sky is blue and the breeze coming through the window has just enough coolness to remind me that fall is here!
What a beautiful world God created for us to enjoy!
However, I am reminded yet again that this world, as beautiful as it is, is not as it should be, or will be. This evening, I will be attending the funeral of my dear friend, Susan Foley. We live in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
We think of ‘the valley’ as that place where we must walk just before dying; or that place where those left behind walk as they mourn the passing of a loved one.
The reality is, from the moment we’re born, we are living and walking in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The shadow of death is ever present, lurking over our shoulders, and reminding us of our mortality. Everything dies. Trees, flowers, pets, people. Death is here.
When God created the earth, it was perfect. But after Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, death was ushered into creation, and we live in its shadow every day of our lives.
But, we need not fear death. Christ overcame death. When we come to the end of our days in the valley, Jesus welcomes us into his heaven. He has gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us and we know we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Believers don’t die. Our bodies die, and when they do, we close our eyes in this life and open them in eternity.
The last time I visited Susan we mostly talked about Jesus. Susan knew she was going to see him face to face soon, and while her heart broke for those who would mourn her passing, she was excited for herself. She was going to see Jesus!
Susan walked into the arms of her Savior on Sunday morning. She is healthy and well. She isn’t in any more pain. She is free. Free to worship. Free to love completely and purely. Free to sing praises without end. Free to bow low in adoration at Jesus’ feet. Free to smile at Jesus’ face for all eternity.
The party is not here! This is the Valley of the Shadow of Death. This is where fear reigns. This is a fallen world filled with fallen people who endure suffering, pain and tears. The party is in the presence of Jesus!
Until Jesus returns and restores the earth to its former glory, or calls us home, we are just walking through the valley. Home is in heaven.
12 thoughts on “For Susan”
Marcia, thank you for this sweet reminder that this is not our permanent home; that our place is not here wrestling with our obstacles and chains of a sin-stained world, but in heaven, where things are as they were originally intended in the Garden of Eden before the fall. Your words hold the hope and promise we need to keep our eyes on.
thank you, Tammi. If only we could keep an eternal perspective!
loved this Marcia! Spoke right to my heart today. May we all see the “here and now” in light of eternity!!
Marcia, you have such a beautiful way with words, spoken and written. It’s easy to tell you are submitted to the Holy Spirit with everything you put your hand to!
thank you, Joanna. Miss you!
Thank you for writing this post for my mom. I read it out loud in the car to my husband and burst into tears. While I am overwhelmed with panicked feelings of missing her and just wanting to call her, I remember that we don’t grieve without hope. I never thought about the valley of the shadow of death in the way you described, and now I do and it’s so true. I’m so looking forward to the day where I can join the party and throw my arms around my mom once again in the presence of Jesus. For now, I just miss her so much as I look towards home.
Kelly, my dad entered Glory in June. I’m just a little ahead of you on this path. I spoke of the overwhelming grief in a previous post titled ‘On Grief’. There are some sweet comments on that post that you might find comforting. Praying for all of you! Marcia
A beautiful reminder. Carrie Underwood sings “Temporary Home” for the same reason, God has a better place for us! I selfishly miss our loved ones to have and to hold one more time, but we will have an eternity together in the very presence of our Lord. My deepest sympathy for your temporary loss and may God bring comfort and peace through this time of grieving for all of her family and friends.
With love and sympathy, DeAnne
DeAnne, thank you.
Thank you for the posting of my beautiful sister, Susan! I miss her horribly and just can’t believe she’s “gone”, but your words make it very comforting and remind me that I too will share the joy with her and our mom some day ~ for all eternity with my Lord and Savior, Jesus!
Nancy, as I mentioned to Kelly, my dad left in June… they are ‘gone’ because they ‘left’ — they are fully alive in glory! It comforts me also to know we will sit with them at Jesus’ feet one day. What a glorious reunion that will be!
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