Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…
Asthma has become an all-too common illness, almost as common as a cold. However, it was not that long ago when knowing an adult with asthma was rare. People simply died from asthma before reaching adulthood. Afflicted children were confined to the indoors, carefully monitored with limited ability to live active, productive lives. Little was known about symptom triggers and less was known about how to reverse the swelling lung tissue and constricted air ways which resulted in suffocation. Modern medicine changed all that. Now, many people “live” with asthma and many do so with very little change to their lifestyle, enjoying the outdoors, athletics and living extremely productive lives. Seeing someone take a couple of puffs on an inhaler is now common place. But sadly, the familiarity has lulled us into the false idea it is no longer a serious or deadly illness. The reality is; asthma still kills.
I have asthma. Medications keep it so controlled I often forget I have it. But if I forget my medicine or find myself in an exercise induced attack, I will die without immediate medical intervention. Sometimes, I need the aggressive care of the nearest emergency room with specialists who have me breathing again and on my way home in no time. But I’m not cured; the asthma goes home with me, hovering over me like an ominous cloud.
My friend, Monique, lived a beautiful life of hope under the shadow of cystic-fibrosis. After a bilateral lung transplant gave her a new lease on life, she lived fearlessly to the fullest. She took advantage of every opportunity to exercise those lungs in every endeavor she once imagined impossible. Even when the luxury of life began to fade away, she never passed up an opportunity to share the love of Jesus. She lived courageously, one glorious day at a time, all to His glory until she passed that shadow and entered the light of His presence. In the short time I knew Monique; she had a profound effect on my life. She taught me to take every moment in life both seriously and joyfully. While the world takes everyday for granted, she and I were given the unique gift of daily gratitude for the divine knowledge of our finite lives.
The enemy would have us believe living under the shadow of death is gruesome and terrifying. But it is not so. Instead it simply stands as a reminder of our eternity in His magnificent presence where no shadow exists. Until that glorious day, we simply trust our Shepherd. We rest by the still waters He leads us by. We trust Him to restore our soul. Even when the path He leads us on stretches under the shadow of death; we will not be afraid. He is with us. He is our strength and our comforter. Our hope is in Him.
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.