When I was a kid there was a TV programme that absolutely terrified me. When I think back, I’m not really sure how I ended up watching it as I can’t imagine my parents being ok with it. Crimewatch would reenact a number of real-life unsolved crimes in the hope that the public would provide information to lead to a conviction. At the end of the programme the presenter would say, “Don’t have nightmares.” I would then proceed to do the opposite and have endless nightmares about burglaries, murders and all the scary stories I’d heard on the show.
As a result, I’ve never been that bothered about the dark and I’m certainly not a fan of walking outside at night. I have often done what I call the “Crimewatch walk,” where you think someone is following you and so you get quicker and quicker and progress to a panicked jog until you reach home.
Today was different though.
I got home very late after a long day. It’s been a long day, during a long week, during a long month, during a long year. No one else was home and I couldn’t face sitting alone in bed so I found the dog’s lead, grabbed the poo bags and decided to take our Old English Sheepdog out for a walk.
I needed to breathe.
I needed space.
I needed it to be just God and me (and the dog obviously).
I should probably mention that prior to this, my car journey home had mainly consisted of me ranting to (not at) God. Although I told Him repeatedly that I loved Him, I also made it clear that I was annoyed. I told Him that whatever cunning plan He had up His sleeve was obviously not working and that He needed to step in…NOW! He listened patiently and let me cool off.
As I walked around the block it was eerily quiet. No screaming kids or dogs barking, just silence. In the quiet, I was reminded of the words of Psalm 23. As I walked along the pavement I spoke these words over my life. I didn’t say them to bring myself comfort. I spoke them as words of defiance against my doubts, fears and any thoughts that God was anything other than faithful.
Psalm 23 (NLT)
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
I may not have reached the point of laughing “without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25) but I choose to believe that with God’s love pursuing me on a daily basis, I have nothing to fear.