Dedicated to the staff, partners, and beneficiaries of SAI/Servant Forge
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – you are with me.” That you are with me promise jumps off the page and seizes my heart and my head every time I read it. In my 63 years, I have certainly witnessed that promise on more than one occasion. To be sure in extreme cases, whether traversing a dangerous road in Bolivia, Haiti, or Ethiopia or standing at my daughter’s bedside and learning that after the birth of our grandson, she had preeclampsia and listening to the doctors describe just how close it was – you are with me. In good seasons – in bad seasons – in all seasons – you are with me. Does it get any better than that?
For the past several weeks I have witnessed the lives of men and women working in the valleys of death. The shadows have been long and often leading others to despair. They move through these valleys with a confidence and hope that brings relief to those in hunger, abandoned, or in fear of their lives. They walk among the displaced in IDP camps, they comfort the refugee, they listen to the fear expressed because there is no money for food or water, they watch as people fear a future where an election could produce violence; they wonder who will be living or who will be dead the next time they enter this valley.
You are with me becomes the road beneath their feet. You are with me makes it possible for them to go, you are with me is what brings a healing embrace, you are with me is what allows them to transcend the pain and the hurt of the world they have chosen to serve. You are with me allows me to feel a grace and forgiveness that cuts through my humanity and my fallible and broken choices.
Today, I go through several valleys where the shadow of death conceals the beauty of life. Yet, though I walk through those valleys, I go with a hope and a confidence that you are with me. With that – I can do this – with that promise despair becomes hope. With that promise – the clouds that produce the shadows evaporate and the horizon becomes something to anticipate not fear. You are with me. Think about it – what does that promise mean to you?
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