The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom then shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
of whom then shall I be afraid ? – Psalm 27
This lovely psalm is filled with hope and faith for me as I journey through the dark winter days and weeks of Lent. It serves as a reassuring reminder that whatever I face on life’s sometimes bumpy path, the light of God’s love surrounds me always.
Everyone has known the dark prison of fear at one time or another. The reasons for fearfulness are many: fear of death, fear of change, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of illness. Fears can stop me in my tracks and bring on feelings of discouragement and even despair. Sometimes I pray and my prayers seem to go unanswered, so I turn away from God. I have learned that no prayer ever goes unanswered but the answer is not always what I want to hear.
Even when I feel totally out of touch with God’s love, however, it still exists. In those periods when I am in the grip of fear, it is like traveling down a road surrounded by thick fog. I am so drawn into the internal pain I am experiencing that I don’t have a clear view of the road ahead. In those moments, I have a choice. I can either move slowly forward, strengthened by a deep, abiding faith, or let fear and hopelessness overwhelm me.
God’s love is everywhere, even in the fog.
When periods of fog surround my life, I like to read again the inspiring tale called Footprints.
One night a man had a dream that he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed two scenes from his life. He saw two sets of footprints; one belonging to him and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back and saw that many times along the path of his life, at the lowest and saddest parts, there was only one set of footprints. This bothered him and he questioned the Lord. “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed during the most troublesome times there is only one set of footprints. Why, when I needed you most, would you leave me?”
The Lord replied, “My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
All Saints Parish, South Burlington