Harder Family

Harder Family

Saturday, February 28, 2015

In the Valley

Psalm 23:4 "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."

The last 12 hours have been a dark valley for me. When they say ignorance is bliss, this is true. I decided to read up about the type of cancer Wayne has in his brain. Not a wise decision, especially late at night. The only plus side is that my pent up emotions finally broke. As I laid in Wayne's arms sobbing, questions like "why us?" and "this isn't fair" rang through my brain. I know this is all part of processing everything that is going on in our lives. I keep reminding myself of who God is. When you read Job, read about his suffering and then his questions to God, God's response to Job isn't to answer those questions, but He tells Job who He is (Job 38-40...great read if you haven't ever read it). That is what I keep reminding myself in this valley. God is good and He has a perfect plan for all of this. He is big enough to handle my questions and I know that He understands. Isaiah 53:3-4 "A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried." Jesus understands grief and sorrow-He Himself experienced it and He knows how to comfort us and lead us through it.

As I was thinking about all of this not being fair, all I could think about was a lesson Wayne taught the girls a few months ago. They kept saying things "weren't fair". Finally Wayne had enough and he said, "You know what isn't fair? It isn't fair that Jesus, who lived a perfect life, had to die for our sins. He didn't do anything wrong and yet he died a horrible death for you and for me so that we can be saved. That isn't fair. An innocent man died for all of us who are guilty and deserve to die." That illustration of "not fair" resounded with the girls. Whenever they hear other kids say, "It's not fair!", they go on to tell them what their dad told them. Again, I know it is okay for me to ask these questions and it is healthy, but I also don't want to get bogged down in the pit of despair. I have to keep clinging to who God is and what He says in His Word. That is why I started this blog up again. I wanted to journal the lessons that God is teaching me through this journey. If you have studied the Old Testament, you find that the Israelites would set up a memorial when God had done something for them. For example, Joshua 4:1-7 "Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.’” So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”

This is what I wanted my blog to be, a memorial of what God is doing in our lives so that our children can see what an amazing God we serve. Like any journey though, there are going to be highs and there are going to be lows. Right now I'm in a low. I don't want this path that we are on, and yet I know that God is sovereign and has a perfect plan in it all. They say hindsight is 20-20. Looking back we can see clearly how God was guiding and leading us to get us to this particular place. Things that didn't make sense at the time, now make perfect sense. We never understood why God kept us in Chicago, but we faithfully obeyed His calling to keep us here. Now in the midst of this trial, we find ourselves in the hands of two of the top neurosurgeons in the nation...right here in Chicago. A year ago God started working on our hearts and getting our minds fixed on Him, giving us a proper view of who He is. God used different avenues to get our attention, the most poignant was a series called "Behold Your God". God used this to help us rethink who God is Biblically. It is too easy to compare ourselves to the people around us and feel like we are "good" people. But God calls us to be holy, not "good". We are to compare ourselves to Jesus and to be a reflection of Him. Of course we can't do this on our own, we can only do this with the strength and power of the Holy Spirit. God was showing us that we had a watered down view of Him and He wanted us to behold Him in His splendor and glory. Studying God's attributes throughout the Bible has helped us gain a better understanding of who He is. The amazing thing is, the more you start to know Him, the more your realize you don't know anything about Him. God also used the book of 1 Peter and David Platt's book "Radical" to make us analyze our lives deeper. God showed us that He wants ALL of us, not just a part of us. Wayne did a three part series at church at the end of May and beginning of June 2014 on 1 Peter and it was challenging. Through all of these avenues, God has been preparing our hearts and making us more like Him.

Knowing who God is has been sustaining us and helping us get through this trial. We know we are just at the beginning, but we know who we serve and who holds the future in His hands. We have experienced a peace and an inexpressible joy in the midst of this storm that can only come from God. 1 Peter 1:6-9 says, "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls." Amen and amen!!

In reference to Psalm 23:4 above, I read this amazing post from Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 23. "'For thou art with me.' This is the joy of the Christian! 'Thou art with me.' The little child out at sea in the storm is not frightened like all the other passengers on board the vessel, it sleeps in its mother's bosom; it is enough for it that its mother is with it; and it should be enough for the believer to know that Christ is with him. 'Thou art with me; I have, in having thee, all that I can crave: I have perfect comfort and absolute security, for thou art with me.' 'Thy rod and thy staff,' by which thou governest and rulest thy flock, the ensigns of thy sovereignty and of thy gracious care—'they comfort me.' I will believe that thou reignest still. The rod of Jesse shall still be over me as the sovereign succour of my soul." Some heavy language in that, but sum it up to this...we have absolute security and comfort in our Savior Jesus Christ who is sovereign and deeply cares for us. I rest in that knowledge even now as I am in the "depths of despair" (as Anne of Green Gables would say). I know who holds my future and who walks by my side through this dark valley. His mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness!! (Lamentations 3:22-3)


  1. I posted your prayer need on my Facebook page, and a friend commented and asked me to pass this on to you:
    "Steven (her son) had astrocytoma grade Ii. He had surgery and 6 wks of five day a week radiation. Chemo was not available then that would pass thru the blood brain barrier. He is 16 yrs post and eleven yrs remission. Prayers for the Harders."