In heavenly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?
Wherever He may guide me,
No fear shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me,
And nothing shall I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim;
He knows the way He taketh,
And I will walk with Him.
Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen;
Bright skies will soon be o'er me,
Where darkest clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure,
My path to life is free;
My Savior is my treasure,
And He will walk with me.
~Anna L. Waring
At Christmas time, especially, I think it is challenging to rejoice when we are experiencing the heaviness of grief. The poet talks of her heart being laid low but maintains her confidence through the storms of life because she trusts that God is walking beside her, and that never changes. So often we feel alone during these storms of life and question God's presence. I once heard someone say that it is we who move, not God. That may well be true, if we lose our footing and drift off in the waves of grief.
The second verse of this poem speaks to following the Shepherd. The Shepherd is wise and will provide all that we need for the journey, as long as we follow Him. We are comforted by these words in Psalm 23 (KJV):
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The last verse of Waring's poem parallels the latter verses of Psalm 23, reminding us that there are green pastures ahead of us and good things to come. Although we sometimes feel that our lives have ended with the loss of our loved ones, God promises comfort and restoration. If you are struggling this Christmas to experience joy or to rejoice with others, I encourage you to read these words and say with the Psalmist, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me."
—Stacie Adams, Bereavement Coordinator (Mount Airy office)
Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care offers free grief support to the community at large. For more information, contact us today at 336-789-2922 (toll-free 1-888-789-2922).
Tags: Grief Support