Jan. 10, 2005


[b said:
Quote[/b] ]2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NRSV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]The psalmist wrote, "Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, LORD, for you are with me." -Psalm 23:4 (TEV)

I am writing these words two days after my mother's funeral. It all seems surreal to me. The one who was always there in my life -- my biggest fan and cheerleader -- is now gone. The experience is gut-wrenching and life-changing.

But through it all I am utterly convinced that the holy presence of God makes all the difference. Psalm 23 says, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me" (KJV).

In these past few days I have truly felt God's presence and comfort. The tears and sadness are still there. But God has been close to me, giving me strength and peace.

On the day of my mother's funeral, I called my 10-year-old niece to check on her. "Annie, are you okay this morning?" I asked. She answered, "I'm very sad, but Grandma is really happy today." What words of comfort!

I am thankful today that God is present with us as we go through the dark valley of grief. That fact, along with beautiful memories and the promise of heaven, makes all the difference.

Weldon C. Bares (Louisiana, U.S.A.)

O God, thank you for your holy presence with us, even in the dark valleys of life. Amen.

God is with us in our sorrow.