"This too shall pass." "Life is long". These are mantras my husband spoke often during a stretch when what we felt was the opposite...that we would never pass through the valley. Instead, our sense was we would all die there, having become victims of the power of the Unmaker.
A friend mentioned she was going to do a workshop on "balance", when she felt anything but balanced. The impact of circumstances surrounding a critical surgery for a loved one shoved her into a place without normal control. Being forced into the role of a being a much needed caregiver without natural resources shoved the weight far to one side.
"They will heal", was the remark made to me when I shared of the death of a marriage between two young people and their horrible sense that neither would ever feel alive again.
I think of John Donne's poem, Death Be Not Proud, especially the last line: "And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die."
For years I have cycled through experiences such as all these in which Death seemed to have the final say. Each time I have woken up days or weeks or months or years later to light and life seeping through the cracks in my coffin. Each time I have been lifted up and placed on a rock and felt strength in my weakness. But, it is remarkable how each new Life-Death-Life experience feels so unique and as powerful as the last. Each time Death comes boastfully and arrogantly crashing into my domain, claiming he has the final say, I feel the same dreadfully horrible feelings. Each time I have to desperately call on my allies to help me put on my armor and take my stand against his artillery barrage. Each time, I feel I am learning about the Way, the Truth, and the Life as though I didn't already know Him.
My latest confrontation with Death has come from several directions almost at once. I found the only thing I really could do was climb in my foxhole in my full armor and camouflage myself with the truths of the One who has finished the battle. I read and wrote and prayed and declared and proclaimed and reviewed and remembered. I came and I saw, I celebrated and rejoiced. I sought peace and pursued it. In my mind, I made level paths. In my heart I practiced trusting, and took my stand and waited. I interceded, pleaded, and beseeched. I confessed, repented and submitted. I cried and wailed and grieved. To what end? That what has already been assured to us by Christ and in Christ will become clear again. Death shall be no more. This is my focus as I am hunkered down in my state of surrender: That we will pass through this valley of the shadow of death, fearing no evil, His rod and staff comforting us. Though now, in this stage in the cycle, we have trouble, on the other side, Death in all his forms will have died. There will be no more separation, brokenness, divorce, division, blindness, deafness, cancer, or any other unmaking of any kind. We will have passed from death into Life.