I was reading Psalm 91 yesterday’s windy morning as a start to the new year, ambling enjoyably through a myriad of warm, assuring promises of God’s strength and shelter and assurances to protect His people, when I was stopped short by this verse: no evil shall befall you. I ground to a sudden halt because my logical mind couldn’t help but protest that we all know this is a fallen world and bad things happen oh, just about every second or so. If not to us, then to everyone else. A few verses later in the psalm, God even promises that he will be with his people in trouble, which logically means trouble will come, evil will befall them. I plopped down right in the middle of the Psalm and started wondering what exactly it was that wouldn’t befall me if I followed God into the vast, rather unknown days of the year I am currently facing.
My puzzlement drove me to a trusty old concordance where I looked up the Hebrew word for evil in that particular verse. I found that in Hebrew the word doesn’t even directly seem to mean evil- the words listed were “to be a friend”, to “pasture, shepherd, or tend”, to “companion”. I was (and am) a little confused, could be wrong on the interpretation. But from what I can understand, I’m beginning to wonder. What if what God is promising is that evil will never companion me? Evil will never shepherd me, tend me as a close friend, journey with me. Wrong may befall me, evil may trip me up. But it will never be my guide on this journey of life. God alone is that guide, that friend closer than brother, or soul, or breath. When I choose him, love him, he becomes the lone, beloved guide of my spirit, he is the ever-present shepherd of my soul.
Now there’s a new year’s promise to pack for the road. Companioned by the God of all goodness so that though evil may befall me, it is only pure Love that is my guide, my helper, my friend. My wish for all of us is that we can live there, walk as surely with him as he walks closely with us. As the strange land of a new year spills out blue and formless to the far horizon, I rejoice to know for sure that we are companioned not by evil, but by Christ, by Love and Mercy and every Good. Led by him into adventures unimaginable and better than any dream.
Beyond these reasons and feelings
Beyond the passion and fatigue
I know You’re there
And that Your Spirit is leading me
Beyond all this.
Happy New Year!