Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me Psalm 23:4 (ESV). Most of us have gone through valleys of darkness, whether it’s through the loss of a loved one, mental illness, serious physical health issues and others. I am sharing with you how the Lord has walked with me through valleys of darkness and the shadow of death.
In 1990, I had a moment of revelation when I read, without faith it is impossible to please him [God] Hebrews 11:6 (ESV). This impacted my life. The very next day, I was in a situation where I had to put faith to the test and God came through. My faith in the impossible caused me some degree of stress as I was praying in the situation. Upon further reflection I learned a lesson I have never forgotten: faith is trusting in God. Trusting God makes challenging situations much easier. I can confidently agree with Paul: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen Hebrews 11:1 (ESV).
When I was first diagnosed with sino-nasal melanoma (cancer on the left side of my head) in 2010, it was so unexpected. After the oncologist explained it would require a huge operation, everyone in the consulting room was silent. Suddenly, I stood up and declared, “I serve a God who heals!” and sat down. After the appointment, the oncologist amazingly prayed for us!
On the way home, my husband and I were silent, digesting the news. I thought ‘I could sit down and cry and roll over and die.’ I chose to trust God instead. A song from the seventies came to mind: the joy of the Lord is my strength Nehemiah 8:10, and in His presence is fullness of joy Psalm 16:11 (ESV). These verses helped me.
After that, I decided to read five of my favourite Bible chapters every day and put healing verses around our home. The Lord showed me, Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen Matthew 21:21 (ESV). I imagined the mountain as a mole hill that I stamped on. God is bigger than any mountain or valley we face. Many people prayed for me and God miraculously healed me!
Three months later, I was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer. When the oncologist said there was no cure, I went back to God’s word and my healing scriptures. During this time I relied heavily on, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Phillipans 4:13 (ESV). This enabled me to get up and go when my strength had gone. I trusted God and people prayed again for me. Another miracle! About two months later I went on a five-day tour to Israel with other ladies from our church! Only by God’s grace and mercy was I able to do this because I was completely healed.
Very surprisingly, in 2019 I was diagnosed for the third time with a high grade neuroendocrine tumour on the other side of my nose. Initially very disappointed with God for another diagnosis, I soon overcame this with repentance and forgiveness. I knew how to fight this battle by trusting in God and reading His word. Despite being so ill and the distortion in my nose, I had to be in the house of God so I continued going to church every Sunday. God’s faithfulness, the prayers of His saints and many healing verses were my foundation during this time. As I did not have the energy to read, I would listen to the Word on my YouVersion Bible app and ponder on certain healing verses. When I needed encouragement, when it was in short supply, I encouraged myself in the Lord and I learned to encourage others by posting positive messages on Facebook. By encouraging others, I was encouraged. The Lord healed me. He is full of love, grace, and mercy. I know the Lord was with me through the valleys of death and He is with me always.
However, this is not the end of my walk through the valleys. The current valley I am walking through is living with severe side effects in the areas that were targeted by extreme radiotherapy in 2010 and 2019. My eyes, nose, mouth, and the skin have been affected. There have been times of weeping and frustration when I’ve not been able to read or see clearly to do many things, however by the grace of God, He has now removed my frustration; He brings joy and peace instead. I am encouraged with, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go Joshua 1:9 (NIV). I am doing more now because I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency] Philippians 4:13 (AMPC).
Despite my current challenges, I was thrilled when the oncologist told me “people do not survive more than a year with two doses of heavy radiation therapy.” She was amazed that I am still alive three years after this intense treatment. How good is God!
Finally, I agree with David that Even though I walk through the valley… I will fear no evil, for you [God] are with me Psalm 23:4 (ESV). I like to remember we go through the valleys; we don’t live there.
With gratitude to all those who have prayed for and helped me through my valleys and the saints who helped me in typing this blog.
All glory goes to the Lord God Almighty.