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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Living in the Shadow of Death

By Peggy Musgrove
Aug. 17, 2014

D/eath cast its first shadow on our home some years ago. I didn’t recognize it at first; it just seemed my husband, Derald, made a mistake when he turned into the wrong lane of traffic. He corrected himself quickly so we didn’t have an accident, but it was the beginning of a series of strange and scary behaviors.

Turning into wrong lanes led to stopping for green lights and going on red ones. I soon became aware that something was seriously wrong in his thinking.

The shadows became longer as the months went by. Gradually he stopped doing things he had always done — writing the tithe check for church each Sunday, taking his camera out for photo shoots on sunny days, wanting to spend time with friends.

Somber words from the doctor increased the darkness. Friends started asking veiled questions. I had to admit the good life we had lived was changing. A disease, which is 100 percent fatal, had cast its dark shadow upon our lives.

The young man I fell in love with could race down the court and sink a basketball with style; now the same man inched carefully down the hall with his walker, hoping to get to the bathroom on time. The man who could administrate a district, guide churches through difficult decisions, and encourage pastors over a cup of coffee could not remember how to cut his steak with a knife.

We eventually settled into a simple routine of daily living. Derald passed away peacefully at home in December of 2012. I learned a lot while living in the darkness of death’s shadow.

I learned that:

Acceptance of the situation gives purpose; it precludes anger and its children — resentment and self-pity. When I saw the care of my husband as the most important thing I could do, it gave me purpose. I remember Jesus said, “Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”

Patience in all circumstances is the key to peace; it enables tolerance and endurance. Otherwise we live in constant frustration. We cope with the present, not comparing it with what has been or what might be. I remember that Jesus said, “sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.”

A loving relationship is the highest virtue; it endures when gold has lost its glitter and fame has faded. As I would clean the bathroom again and explain what we were doing for the fourth time, I would remember a commitment I made, “for better or worse.” Perhaps Paul had circumstances like these in mind when he said, “the greatest of these is love.”

The greatest thing I learned, however, is that in spite of the darkness of death’s shadow, we live in the light of God’s presence. I have learned the truth of the psalm: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ... thou art with me.” Death cast its shadow on us daily; but the presence of the One who conquered death cast a light on everything we endured, giving us a panoramic view of the Kingdom beyond this valley where death shall be no more.

From Primeline, Summer 2014. Reprinted with permission.

PEGGY MUSGROVE is a licensed Assemblies of God minister, writer and speaker for women’s groups. She has served as national director of Assemblies of God Women’s Ministries, on the Board of Directors at Evangel University, and as a pastor’s wife. She has written several books and articles for the Pentecostal Evangel and Enrichment Journal. For more information visit


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