Living in Death’s Shadow

Everyone knows it's coming but few people are prepare when the process of dying begins to work its way into our lives. Over the past couple of weeks Wayne has been walking with his family through "the valley of the shadow of death" and found out how much learning to live at rest in the Father's loves prepared his heart for things unforeseen. The podcast begins by revisiting an appropriate podcast through some listener emails and comments about coming to rest in his love and how God accomplishes that over time as he wins us into his affection. Then we'll talk about how to live there in some of the darkest and more difficult days that lie ahead for all of us.

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Earlier podcast on Finding Rest In His Love
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  1. Hi Wayne (and other podcast listeners)…I’m in b/t many appointments so am just “checking in” and then coming back later to listen. As well as financial challenges, right now my Dad is facing death and as a family we’re looking at this journey. This podcast is timely and another reflection of how Father knows what we need (I’m not the only one facing these things). I’m looking forward to when I can take some quiet time to listen…thankful for Father’s timing. Blessings, Sue

  2. “The last thing you owe your kids is to die well” Anonymous

    Thanks Wayne for this timely message. That quote hit home.

    Dave 🙂

  3. Wayne: So sorry to hear about the shadow your family is faced with. My heart is with you guys! But more important Father is with you guys. May you be strengthened to rely even more on Him through even this step.
    I enjoyed the podcast and can’t help but believe that The more we abide in his rest before we physicaly have to, The more we can maybe even enjoy parts of the final leg of this wonderful dream called life? I am only 34 so I dare not begin to think I’ve have had the experience ,pain , or suffering that so many have experienced. Yet this past year I call “the year we grew young together”! I had a great conversation with sweet lady at one point last summer that was in her 80s. It started by Her Noticing my love for life as she put it, What she didn’t know was I was enjoying her love of life just as much if not more, in the end we agreed our souls were near the same age. Her body was weak and I had to help her to her car but it seemed her soul was not a day over 16. How did she stay so tender and young at heart all those years? And her love of life had not faded at all? I would be willing to bet she learned somthing at a much younger age that allowed her to enjoy and Love life regardless of where she found herself and I’m guessing it didn’t happen overnight. But whatever happened has lasted a lifetime ! I want That!!!! I love your perspective on ageing Wayne, it makes it feel more like A part of this amazing Journey ! Just the last thing in this life He wants to love us through . Thank you!!!

  4. Am lying in a hospital bed, almost like a baby except for being able to use my iPhone
    Thank you Wayne for this podcast – so timely, so relevant…
    It is over two months now and at the beginning everyone told me to get well, to do it soon…
    It is so helpful to be allowed to be weak and to know that it bothers Father far less than it bothers us…
    Ana Figueira

  5. Really appreciated your sharing Wayne.
    Particularly took note of the broadening of understanding of that phrase “the valley of the shadow of death”. I found that really helpful.
    At 71 I am aware which end of life I am at even though I have no current health issues.
    Currently we are greatly enjoying our grandchildren but I have been thinking about the way the loss of grandparents is so often the first significant experience of death for children. I found the quote “The last thing you owe your kids is to die well” helpful.
    We have been through the loss of our parents for both myself and my wife. My dad was 69 and my mum 2 day shy of 100! What really hit me about mum is that while her last 5 years of increasing loss of independence and increasing levels of care were far from easy, and she did get cranky at times, she never stopped loving people – including the ones she was cranky at! Her faith was very real. She grew in knowing the Father’s love even in that time. Her funeral was a real celebration of a life well lived. And a great encouragement, and challenge to many – including myself.
    May you and your brothers and all those connected, and especially your Mum and Dad, be blessed in these challenging times. I’m glad we have a big enough Father.
    Richard Wilson
    One Tree Hill

  6. Thanks Wayne for everything you have shared today. Am I the only one who talks back to Wayne when he is podcasting, saying ‘yeah, that’s right’ and ‘true’…? Feel a bit silly talking to an ipad but so much of what you say resonates with me. As has been said before, you are gifted with the ability to articulate what people feel. Such a blessing and encouragement.

    I leant so much through the ‘end of life time’ and subsequent death of both my parents. I had spend many years praying for them, asking God to show them the light and for them to find faith before they died. Getting frustrated when they didn’t etc. But the opportunity to be there and to serve them and just spend time with them as they lay dying (5 years apart) was tiring but so beautiful in many ways. I had some of the most deep and real encounters with God in those moments. I began to understand vulnerability, sacrificial love and really face up to the truth that we will all die. How brief life on earth really is.

    It’s actually a privilege to support the infirm and dying. There is so much to hear and learn. My dad had so many regrets and begged us for forgiveness and acceptance in his last weeks. I thank God for that time that my siblings and I were able to assure him that we loved him and that he had been a good father. My mum has a more serene passing and she talked about seeing butterflies…she was tired and ready to go. Just as she breathed her last, God gave me the most beautiful vivid picture of my mum’s face full of light smiling with pure joy. I knew she had been realesed from her pain and suffering into joy, peace and love.

    I have been reflecting lately that God has given many of us birth families who we can love and serve. In fact shouldn’t they receive the best of our love and care? I am ashamed to say that in the past I had often felt that it was more important to spend time with people from church who were my ‘spiritual family’ and that my time was better spent with them. I think my old mindset was pretty bad…I felt that after years of trying, I couldn’t convert my blood relations so they were a waste of my time. How awful is that!? I am now learning the I am surrounded by a large extended family who need to see the love of Jesus through me for the rest of my life. That’s really all I need to do! It’s that easy! I leave the rest to God.

  7. A number of years ago we experienced a homicide of a close family member by another family member. We entered a valley that was very deep and dark and 8 years later still experience residual effects. My first thoughts were: Wow God, how are you going to redeem this one? In the year or two that followed the event, along with a trial and and verdict of not guilty for reason of mental instability / insanity, we found ourselves gasping for air and trying to find right side up. We found that we had very little to no support within our local church, only a few friends here and there. What I discovered over a period of few years and looking in hindsight, was that no one was capable of meeting our need, and our frustration and anger with “uncaring people” was misplaced. This was too large for others to carry. No one knew what to do or say. What DO you say in such circumstances? God was going to be the only one who could really be with u, but of course for many family members, there was much anger at Him.

    Eight years later I have seen things change in my own life that came as a result of all of this. And for me, I have experienced a further deepening of faith and trust. The valley has been a teaching ground, a place for learning and leaning and sometimes clutching at his promises. “Where else can I go, for you have the words of life.” Do I abandon the love I have experienced from the Father because of extreme sorrow? Nothing takes him by surprise.

    Wow God, I wonder how you are going to redeem this one? And somehow he is… He is trustworthy even in the valley.

  8. Hi John. A small note to say how valuable your words were. It sometimes seems that much more depth can be achieved with actual, verbal conversations than this technical format. Having said that, I remain thankful that this is a way people can have to connect and share (even in a limited fashion) their life in Father.(smile) Your story certainly is extraordinary in some respects…the “valley” He is walking me through has less elements of drama…but the pain is fairly intense. My finances, my Dad’s health situation etc…what really resonated with me was the way you didn’t see how Father would redeem this kind of horror. Then you described the growth He brought about and the learning that happened. Also you mentioned how He sees time differently…”Eight years later…I have seen…”…puts to rest the idea that He’ll have everything done tomorrow…or even in the next 4 to 5 years doesn’t it. (rueful smile). This theme of patience/waiting/God’s timing is a very persistent theme through Scripture also. Thanks for sharing a small part of your life and the encouragement for others that comes from that. Blessings, Sue

  9. just never gets old, hearing someone take all their heartaches and troubles, and just turning to the Father with them!! What you said…do you abandon the love you’ve received from the father, because of extreme sorrow?….reminded me of a question i was musing about the other day. That why do we as people tend to blame God when bad things happen? Sometimes when I am weary or struggling to rest about something…and especially when the struggle involves other people …feeling something in me start to blame God for what Im going through..and one of the last times, caught it and said..why am I doing this? God didn’t make this other person act this way! He gives everyone free will, and sometimes bad things happen because of choices we or someone else makes. And like you said…it makes no sense to turn away from the very one who wants to be there for you through it! For me, it always seems like i feel a need to associate blame somewhere, and for some odd reason i get something out of this?? Its ridiculous, but somehow the other option of just letting yourself feel the pain, and allowing him to carry you through it, makes one feel very undone!! I am learning to love that feeling tho….undone…great freedom there!!! In his arms…

  10. Hi Wayne, just finished listening to this podcast on my Blackberry out here in Nigeria; been out here already for a couple of months and got one more to go. Just thought I’d let you know that I’m thankful you brought up this topic, as it colours my thought process and preparedness for these kinds of issues going forward. Thankful that ultimately God remains faithful regardless 🙂

  11. Wayne, thank you for a very thought provoking podcast. It helps us to consider and accept the natural narrowing progression of our lives as we move into our senior years. I know when we were young, we never really considered that’s how our lives would be, but now we see that this is something our Father has ordained for everyone, and he will walk us through it.

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