I won’t be afraid
You are true to your name,
and you lead me
along the right paths.
I may walk through valleys
as dark as death,
but I won’t be afraid.
You are with me.
— from Psalm 23 (CEV)
These are anxious days. The upheaval and havoc in the face of the COVID-19 has been shocking and we are stunned by the suddenness with which it has brought our personal world as we know it to an abrupt halt.
Assorted concerns are rising in the backgrounds of our minds. What will be the fallout? What crisis of health or wealth awaits? How many will die? How many will lose their jobs or their life savings? These are heavy thoughts and people are understandably stressed.
Meaning beyond meaning
Like me, you may be looking for something to balance the weight of these burdens. You may be longing for a word of consolation, saying “I am with you.” You are searching for an abiding peace. For presence.
During times of trouble or loss, when the foundations of the world around us are shaken, when we feel adrift upon turbulent seas, or in a valley of darkness, few things can offer comfort, peace, and presence as can music.
Music can serve as a capable vehicle for meaning beyond meaning, bringing to our lips the words and prayers we most need to say and feel. Music can guide us into still waters.
When Jesus (the Good Shepherd) said, “do not be afraid, little flock” (Luke 12), he was extending to his followers the faith and hope that God, who cares for all creation — from the birds of the air to the flowers of the field — cares also for each of us. God always has.
We are not promised that there will be no hardships, no dark valleys, nor enemies. But we are assured that we will not be alone through those experiences. God goes with us. Hold on to the hand of faith.
“He Leadeth Me”
Here’s an old hymn with music and words that attest to that. It is arranged for piano solo by someone near and dear to me . . . my wife and life partner, Maureen. Sing or hum along if it helps.
He Leadeth Me
He leadeth me: O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, he leadeth me;
by his own hand he leadeth me:
his faithful follower I would be,
for by his hand he leadeth me.
Text: Joseph Gilmore, 1862, Massachusetts
Tune: William Bradbury, 1864
May we find peace in these difficult times. Here’s a prayer:
be over me to shelter me
under me to uphold me
behind me to direct me
before me to lead me
about me to protect me
ever with me to save me
above me to lift me
and bring me to the green pasture of eternal life.
— David Adam, from The Edge of Glory