Deborah Forsythe came to know the Lord as her personal Savior at a young age and knew early in her life that she wanted to serve the Lord in full time Christian ministry. She graduated from Bob Jones University with a degree in English. Shortly after graduation she married Stephen Forsythe and the Lord blessed them with four children. They home schooled the children for six years in the Greenville, SC area while Stephen attended graduate school. Then, in 1993 the Lord took Stephen home to Heaven after battling Lou Gehrig’s disease for 2 1/2 years. Deborah subsequently authored the gospel tract, “Triumph Over Tragedy” as a witnessing tool for her family. She herself is a survivor of colon cancer. Mrs. Forsythe is a member of Faith Baptist Church in Taylors, SC and is employed at Bob Jones University. Read her message below about the sustaining grace of the Lord in her journey through “The Valley of Baca.”


The Valley of Baca




Deborah Forsythe


Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee;


In whose heart are the ways of them.


Who passing through the valley of Baca (weeping) make it a well;


the rain also filleth the pools.


They go from strength to strength,


Psalm 84:5-7


Triumph Over Tragedy resulted when my Pastor, Dr. John Vaughn, encouraged the congregation to put their personal testimonies in tract form. Our family has found it to be a very effective witnessing tool. No one has refused a tract yet when one of the children says, “This is about my Dad and the Lord helped our family.” It is a joy to see others stop to read about our journey through the Valley of Baca, knowing that the seed of the gospel will be planted.


Stephen’s ministry did not end with his home going. Although his plans to be a pastor never came to fruition, his wooden pulpit was exchanged for a life spotlighted by the Lord to bring glory to Him. Through his most difficult days he ministered to his family and testified to others of God’s grace. We experienced springs of comfort and encouragement through the Lord’s provision, both spiritually and materially. Stephen shared this with others. I kept a journal of our pilgrimage through the Valley of Baca. Occasionally, I turn the pages in the book and am rebuked once again of my lack of trust when I hit a bump in the road now, 10 years later. I need the reminders.


If we desire to grow in our relationship with the Lord, to reflect Christ, we must be prepared to experience testing and trials. To meet these challenges we must keep our focus on the Lord and not on the outward circumstances. Large chunks of time in the Word of God, particularly the Psalms give much comfort and reassurance that He is always with us.


Healing after the loss of a loved one is a slow process. Along our journey I often read aloud God’s promises as I spoke to Him. Psalm 77 was my cry during the most difficult days of Stephen’s illness and in the days since. Nights can be long and holidays can still be tough. The children and I talk freely about their Dad. We did so from the beginning, recalling wonderful memories. While we pray for healing for our hearts, we don’t forget (Psalm 30:2,5). Each of us has cried out countless times to the Lord. His love is stronger than death (John 3:16). The sufferings of this world cannot be compared to the sufferings of Christ who is the perfect God-man. He suffered and died for my sin and for your sin (Romans 8:8). Everyone needs to understand and experience this truth. So, the pools must spread with each rain shower.


How can I be both a father and mother to four children? How can I meet their every need? The truth is, I can’t. God is the Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) and the husband to the widow (Isaiah 54:5). As the children grew to their teen years, it was a challenge for me to juggle school and work schedules, deal with car and house repairs, pay bills, and make all the decisions. How Satan sought to gain victory daily! In fact, the battle continues. I must remember to focus on Him who holds me in His hand (Isaiah 26:3).


I trust it is clear to you what passing through the Valley of Baca means. We must take the responsibility of allowing pools of refreshing water flow to others, minister to their needs, and see beyond our pain to benefit others. In so doing, God is glorified and we are enabled to go from strength to strength.



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