Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Grand Canyon

In the Valley of the Shadow of Death: Psalm 23

A year ago yesterday, Steven and I spent the night on a small beach on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. We had just completed day 3 of a 7 day river float/camping trip. Steven and I will never forget day 3 because that is the day we lost our baby to a miscarriage. The morning of day 4 was filled with mixed emotions for both of us. We were not only emotionally exhausted from the loss, but physically tired from the long days on the river and still had 3 full days to go. I remember saying to Steven that I didn't know if I could keep going. At that point, I remember looking at the river and the large canyon above taking in the majestic beauty of this place. I was experienceing the ambivolence of pain and beauty. As I thought about not going any farther, there was something that kept me going. I knew I had to finish the journy through the canyon - I couldn't leave.

The Grand Canyon holds a special place in our relationship. Firstly, in 2003 Steven asked me to marry him in the bottom of the Grand Canyon while standing on the silver bridge above the Colorado River. Secondly, Steven and I love the Canyon, not only because of it's vastness and mystery, but for it's beauty and complexity as well. Thirdly, the Canyon will always be the place where we remember our baby that was lost. To us, The Grand Canyon now represents a picture of God's faithfulness to us and is a part of our story that has been skillfully woven into the very fabric of our lives.

July 25, 2007 was equivocal to litterally walking in the valley of the shadow of death. Whenever we hear or read the 23rd Psalm it now jumps off the pages of Scripture with new life, primairly due to our Grand Canyon experience. The Grand Canyon has come to remind us of a few of the attributes of the God of the Bible, they are: This place is a visible reminder that represents the timelessness of God and His mighty hand, His awesome power, His continuing faithfullness, His enduring presence, His unfailing provision and His undying love for His people. It is quite moving to know that he even cares for the small and weak, the broken and wounded, including the brief life of the nameless little one that we never got to meet at just 8 weeks old last July. Our story matters to Him, and even though we are small and the Grand Canyon is great, we matter to Christ. Our hurt and confussion matter to Him. Our pain and sorrow matter to Him. Better yet, he knows these emotions and has experienced them. In fact, He came to make all things new. The Story does not end with our miscarriage, saddness and brokenness. Christ is comming again and has been victorious over sin and death. This gives us great hope, and enables us to look to the future in anticipation of the second comming of our Lord. We look forward to seeing our child someday and celebrating once again the faithfullness of the Lord our God. Our trip began full of anticipation of beauty, new life, and excitement.

As we have reflected about that trip this week and were looking at pictures from it we remembered a very special moment as we were setting up camp on the last night of our trip after we had just exited the Canyon. We were all looking back up the Colorado river over the journey we had just made, telling stories from our adventure, when we were given a vivid and tangible reminder of the faithfullness of God. There on one of the peaks near the Canyon walls was a beatiful rainbow while the sun was setting and storm clouds were forming off in the distance. It was as if God was saying "I have not forgotten you" and "this is a reminder of my love for you." We both experienced such a mixture of feelings, yet we were filled with hope and enveloped by a great sense of God's love for us even in our hour grief and confussion there in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

1 comment:

Lara said...

This is beautiful! I love how God is a near God and that He provides us with His hope in the midst of pain. He is good, always good!
Thanks for sharing that with us!
Take care!