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516 || In the Valley of the Shadow of Death: God’s Still Got It

What in Heaven’s name is God doing?

Have you ever been there? I have, more times than I want to admit. But each time, I learned something more about my all-sovereign God.

Loss After Loss After Loss

In 1996, my wife and I each lost a parent — her dad to open heart surgery and my mom to bone cancer. The pain of the Lord taking our parents home so young was nearly unbearable, but in time we settled back into life.

Ten years passed.

Then life hit us again when we learned my baby brother had renal cancer. He was married with three lovely children. But before we had a chance to fully process how it was all going to work out, the Lord took his wife during routine surgery in November 2010.

It was a major kick in the gut. Here my baby brother was battling for his life, and his children were confused. Anticipating their father’s death, they had been pouring their lives into their mom. Now she was gone, and they were losing their father, too.

Nine months later, the Lord said it was time for my baby brother to come home. At the same time, my dad was diagnosed with dementia. My emotions were all over the map.

Lord, really! What are you up to?

Seven months later, doctors diagnosed my older brother, Mike, with melanoma, and they said he was terminal. I was so thankful to be with him each day for his last two months. Although the pain must have been deep, he had one of the most glorious homecomings I have ever witnessed.

The Lord was gracious to give us some time to heal before He took my dad home in October 2014.

What in Heaven’s name was God doing?

God’s Got This  

I hope you understand what I mean when I use the phrase, God said to me.” I have never heard the audible voice of God, but I know when God is speaking because it always lines up with His Word and His character.

Through each death God said to me, “I’ve got this!” Repeatedly He said it. I know the Father is in control, so why would He repeat this phrase to me again and again? Because the enemy doesn’t care how much I know; he wants to know what I believe. God said to me, “You will always flesh out what you believe.” We have to believe something in order to build on it. This is such a major truth to embrace in order to be able to experience the fullness of life Christ came to give.

Yet some people say they are believers, but when tragedy comes they seem to handle it as the world does.

Since Mike’s death, I have been repeating that phrase —God’s got this — more times than you could imagine. Sometimes I shout it when I’m alone in my car or at home. Sometimes I worship Him when I think back through every circumstance. Sometimes I just cry out and praise Him with those words: “God’s got this!”

God made every provision for us to live godly lives (2 Peter 1:3), but He also told us to renew our minds by setting them on Him (Romans 12 and Colossians 3). I’m striving to set my mind on things of Christ, and that effort runs a close second to “God’s Got This.”

The Mind is a Wonderful Thing

The battle of where my mind will go in a second is unbelievable. When my brothers died, I found myself entertaining things that were not true. Immediately they distracted, discouraged and defeated me. It’s haunting when that happens. The enemy will not let up, but greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.

I have learned the importance of taking every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). The mind is a wonderful thing as long as it is set on Christ. None of what I walk in takes God by surprise. He knows what He is doing, and He has given me His mind to battle this crafty enemy (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Never Alone

God has shown up for me in more real ways than I have space to share. Let me just paint a few pictures for your own mind’s eye, and hopefully you’ll be reminded that you’re not alone. I have felt His nudge, His arms and His whisper in a sunrise, sunset, a star, a breeze, a child, a door, a tire and a hawk. Oh, the stories I have heard and experienced!

Even though He is enough, God continues to pour His blessings on me.

My wife is one of those blessings. She has been patient, kind, forthright, gentle and there. Yes, most of all, she has been there! She has been the encouraging word, a voice of truth, a hand to hold and a place of peace. She asks me questions, and I have learned not to answer too quickly. She is for me. Her questions are not meant to cause me to be defensive, but to make me think and ask more questions.

My boys are my Aaron and my Hur (Exodus 17), but I’m more blessed than Moses. I have three sons, not just two. They’re young men now, and they have a deep faith in the Lord. They tell me what they hear, what they see. They watch my back; they caution me not to do too much. They tell me what they believe is best. They hold up my arms because, like my wife, they are for me.

I also have my church family. They have cried, laughed, walked, sat and run with me through all my times in the valley of the shadows of death. Oh, the power of the Lord is mighty!

So, what in Heaven’s name is God doing?

Well, He’s not spinning our wheels or wasting our time. He does have a plan, even when we can’t see it. All is for His glory and our joy.

I sure didn’t sign up for all of this, but I accept it because the promises of my God are all yes and amen.

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