“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me…”
This summer, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Greg Harris and his wife, Betsy, while I was taking classes at The Master’s College in California. After speaking to them for only a few minutes, I was struck by how kind and gracious they each were. Only later would I learn about some of the amazing work God has done in the Harrises’ lives through times of great suffering and darkness. Dr. Harris has described some of their story in his book on suffering and the sovereignty of God entitled The Cup and The Glory.
In the introduction of his book, Dr. Harris describes how a simple lesson he attempted to teach his young daughter, Lauren, would soon be used by God to teach him far more about trust and obedience than he would ever have imagined. When Lauren took some candy from his desk without asking, Dr. Harris required that she return it saying, “Place them both in my hands.” He continues the story:
Little did I realize what I was trying to teach our children would in just a few hours be thrust on Betsy and myself as our heavenly Father would call for the same obedience from us. Having informed those at the Wednesday service of the serious problems in Betsy’s pregnancy, problems discovered only on the previous day, and having been comforted by the love and support of these cherished friends, we moved in a dazed stupor as Betsy unexpectedly went into labor later that very night. As we rushed to the hospital about midnight, we knew the situation was quite grim for the identical twin girls she was carrying. As Lauren’s earlier, my response was quite reluctant. Even at the hospital when we first received the news the babies yet to be born would not live, I still expected deep inside if I gave the twins to God, then He would give them back to me. Until the nurses gently wrapped the first lifeless baby into blankets and carried her away from us, and then repeated the process with the second baby, I somehow believed there was still an outside hope for them. Only after the nurse walked down the hall with our second baby and turned the corner forever out of our sight this side of heaven, did I fully realize this was one of those times when God had closed His hand over what had been placed into it…
Hours earlier I had instructed Lauren how deeply we loved her, and how we desired the best for her. I told her whether or not I gave her the candy she wanted was no indication of our love for her. These words were said probably more for my own benefit than for that of a four-year-old. Once more the Lord brought my own teaching back to me. God’s love for His children is not only stated in Scripture but also ultimately demonstrated in the sacrificial death of His own Son, Jesus. Even more so, God knows firsthand what it was like to stand by and watch the death of His own child—and He could have intervened and stopped it at any moment. God has exhibited His love for us in not only making us His children, but in infinitely countless ways every day of our existence. His love for us—and for our twins—is not contingent on whether we bring the little girls into our home, or God brings them into His.
“Place them both into My hands.”
“We have, Lord, and thank You for taking such good care of them.”
[The Cup and the Glory, pp. 10-11]
Traveling through the valley of the shadow and then the wilderness for several years after that tragic event, Dr. Harris gained a great deal of wisdom which he has graciously shared in The Cup and the Glory. In the following video, Dr. Harris explains more about the purpose and message of this powerful book.
Photo: Konrad Mostert