The Piercing Power of God’s Word

by Araceli (Sally) Cardenas

by Araceli (Sally) Cardenas

“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.”

(Psalm 23:4 ESV)

I received the news that my niece, Meagan, had been infected with Covid-19 after taking care of her mother who had battled the virus for more than two weeks. Their family had taken every precaution to avoid getting sick, following CDC guidelines and Dr. Fauci as the ultimate authorities. Yet, the virus still entered their home, aiming to take down the family of five.

I was quick to dial Meagan, ready to encourage her like I had done with my sister, though the whole situation seemed hopeless. A business shut down was looming, threatening the family’s income and everything they had worked for. Meagan was second-in-command, holding up the business and family obligations. Without her, a full recovery looked bleak.

I sifted through my Bible asking the Lord, “Why her? Why now?” I turned to Psalm 23, my “go-to-Psalm-when-in-trouble” to quiet my spirit and redirect my thoughts. I read out loud, “The LORD is my shepherd”; “He restores my soul”; “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Each phrase was a promise of God’s presence, comfort, and protection—the same promises I had held on to when I faced adversity in my own life. I zeroed in on the verse I had circled and underlined, “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,” (Psalm 23:4 ESV).

Meagan and her family came into focus. Could six small verses pierce through the fear, confusion, and self-isolation? Would Meagan learn to turn to the Lord the same way I had so many times before for guidance, protection, and comfort?

A surge of hope prompted me to FaceTime her. I found a young woman on the other side of the screen who looked crushed, eyes swollen, and so exhausted from fighting off yet another fever. She couldn’t even look up as she held on to a list of invoices she still needed to review and sign off before going to sleep. “Tia Sally, I don’t understand. I took every precaution.” There was nothing I could say to stop the bleed. I let her vent. “Why did I get sick when all I did was help my mom go through this?” she asked.

I asked her to turn to Psalm 23 in her Bible. Slowly turning the pages, she wept silently. I read the words aloud, reminding her of what I knew to be true. When life threatens to destroy you and all seems lost, there is only One who can penetrate the darkness and light the path forward with His Word.

After a forty-day quarantine and countless evenings of studying His Word together, Meagan emerged with a grateful heart for the “divine quarantine” that led her to experience His light and presence by surrendering the crisis to the Lord. Hope had been restored.

 

Truth for Today

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5 NIV)

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