“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:13-14

Erik Steffen, 1970-2006

It’s been a difficult few months for everyone who loves Erik Steffen. He was a brave fighter and struggled valiantly against the cancer that had invaded his brain. Even in his last hours, Kelly said to me in Erik’s presence, “I don’t think he’s given up. I think the cancer has just gotten too strong.” She was right.

But even as Erik breathed his last breath, cancer and death had not won the battle. The battle belongs to the Lord. Though Erik’s body stopped, the true life within him has continued on in the presence of the Lover of His soul. Erik is seeing the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living.

That’s why Erik, and all those who sat in vigil with him over the past few weeks, especially his wife Kelly, didn’t despair. We’ve all been really sad at times. Even as I write now, tears flow from my eyes. I’ve also been confused a lot, and a few times, maybe even a little mad. Yesterday I realized that my faith has become a little numb over the past few days, like maybe it’s hibernating, storing up for the hard days to come. For a few moments each day, I’ve even laughed really hard (it’s hard to be sad all the time). But wherever my emotions take me, I will NOT despair. For I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living.

Going through this journey with the Steffens has definitely led us all through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. But seeing Erik and Kelly live out this hope and courage over the past few months has helped me not to fear. Instead it’s pushed me a little further along the road of waiting for the Lord. The only road that leads to the Land of the Living. And the Land of the Living is not just a nice place to visit; I want to live there.