Through the Valley
Jeanne Murphy of Glen Carbon, IL, USA
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -Colossians 3:12-17
Have you ever felt that you are “walking through the valley of the shadow of death”? Sometimes, I feel that I have spent most of my life in that valley. Sometimes, I am there because of the death of a loved one; sometimes, I am there because I have had suicidal thoughts during my life. I am in my 80s now, so obviously I haven’t acted on those thoughts; but the thoughts are never very far away.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States; we need to not be afraid to recognize it and address it. Doctrine and Covenants 163:2b tells us, “The restoring of persons to healthy or righteous relationships with God, others, themselves, and the earth is at the heart of the purpose of your journey as a people of faith.”
People “walking through the valley of the shadow of death” need to be restored. People who are suicidal want to and need to be heard-but they may not let anyone know of their need. Restoration is something best accomplished in relationship or in community-not alone. We are the Community of Christ. Our purpose is to help people find life-giving relationships, and we need to have open eyes and ears to sense these needs.
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Breathing God’s Compassion
Light a candle and sit quietly, reflecting on the fire and light of God. Pay attention to your breathing and let it become calmer and deeper as you focus on God’s presence. Ask God to breathe in you. Image each breath carrying the light of God into your lungs, bloodstream, and every cell in your body until God’s Spirit fills you. Now imagine breathing out God’s compassion and grace each time you exhale. Pray to have the Spirit of Christ radiate from your life like the gentle flame of a candle.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.