In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death


David Kuo is a dear friend and a true Christian. A refugee from the Bush administration, and author of Tempting Faith, David has been battling a brain tumor for years. This week brought bad news, and his many friends have asked those of us who believe in such things to pray for him and his wonderful family. Please do. We hear a lot about Christians failing to reach their ideals. This is inevitable. But in David's and Kim's case, the way they live their lives is one of the greatest advertisements for faith in Jesus I know, and to see them struggling to keep it in the face of mortality is heart-wrenching and also inspiring:

Yesterday was one of the three worst days of our lives. We had such absolute faith and confidence that the scan would be fine... it wasn't even a big deal. It was to just be a "baseline" scan. And then the horrid words from a doctor's smiling lips, "The scan is bad."

By the time we left our dear friend Jamie Tworkowski was almost literally holding us up. All the chemo and all those days in the radiation machine strapped down by the Hannibal Lecter mask, all the certain promises that radiation would buy us years, gone, poof. Then there was our lives and our kids and our marriage. It felt like our every dream for our lives together had been obliterated. Kim could barely walk to the car. I sunk to my knees when I walked a dozen wobbly steps into the house. Jamie held us both and prayed for us, tears streaming from his eyes. We felt like we were stuck in the valley of the shadow of death. The grief and fear and horror relented only for brief moments.

Today often felt worse than yesterday.

It began with Kim and me huddled in bed, bawling, talking, asking God and each other for forgiveness for our failures of commission and omission. We had a powerful, powerful time of prayer in the early afternoon - again, just a true, abject crying out to God for his mercy that this cup may pass from us. We thought of the woman in the crowd who pushed through to just to touch the hem of Jesus' garment. But almost as soon as the prayers ended the darkness descended.

Being around the kids was torture. Aidan's been stepping into his own personality more and more. Its an interesting one... he's becoming a bit of a showman. It was excruciating for both Kim and me to watch him pose/dance/hop with gleeful innocence with the heaviness of time's uncertainty crushing us. Livvy found us crying in the bedroom and asked what was wrong. We told her Daddy's head was sick and we were sad. She then did a dance performance for us. It's easy to replay these hours and hear the enemy's voice telling us we lacked faith and courage. We know that our father isn't wagging his finger at us. We know he is with us.

Can we answer every question? Uh, no. Many questions? No. But we cling to some basic truths - God is good. We know He delights in those who fear him and put their hope in his unfailing love. That we do. Even (especially?), when it is through grief. He's never going to forget us. He knows us and has always known us.

Pray for them.