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Persevering and Passing it On
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.   
Psalm 23:4 NRSV
Several years ago, I read an outstanding testimony from Tony Snow, commentator, broadcaster and President George W. Bush's press secretary, about his fight with cancer.
He said, “Blessings arrive in unexpected packages, - in my case, cancer……… we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the 'why' questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer……… We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us, that we acquire purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God's love for others.” 1
We all walk through the valleys of life, those down moments, and if we are honest, we may be experiencing that walk more frequently at this time. It is unreasonable to think that everything will always be perfect. In fact, life would be dull if it had no challenges at all. The key is in what we do with those valleys and how we battle our way through that counts.
Many times we cannot persevere without the company of others. We need the physical presence and encouragement of others alongside us and, ultimately, we also need the rod and staff of our Lord to help us keep steady on the journey. He is the one who will show us the best path through the dark valley. He will walk with us and bring us safely through to the other side. He is our Shepherd.

And when we triumphantly climb from the valley, it’s our turn to pass it on: to turn and give our helping hand to others. We show them what we’ve we learned of His grace and love in tough times by helping them in their valley. As we have received, so we give.

1 Snow, Tony. "Cancer's Unexpected Blessings," Christianity Today . July 20, 2007.
The Rev. Gill Keyworth
Pastoral Associate