Last October my husband Ted and I were alone on a pathway of the White Mountains National Forest in Waterville Valley, NH, without the sound of any voice, any vehicle, any footsteps, save our own.
I looked up, inasmuch as we were more than embraced by the mountains, we were secured by the hills that beckoned us somehow to be, to see, to even bow like the birches and the ageless maple trees at the wonder, the tapestry of God’s own hand showing the peak of His creative grandeur for the likes of humankind!
My soul had only to utter, with a hushed voice, before such peace and wonder, the imbedded timeless words of the psalmist, noted in the first line of this offering of a devotional. There, on the pathway, we stopped and together gave THANKS that indeed, in times such as these, when horrific happenings upon this good earth cause us to tremble, when the unseen becomes fearful and the seen becomes overwhelming, the plea and hope from anyone who walks this path of life or joins with others on this journey, all together are surely silently seeking to cry for help for our times, our world, our families, our churches and our very life and unfinished high calling.
The voice that resonated upon and above our path and still extends, literally and lovingly throughout time, simply resounds in the silence of the mountains’ splendor that “He will not suffer our foot to be moved nor does He slumber or sleep.” HE IS OUR KEEPER, HE is that shade upon our right hand, and His glory safe-guards us even under the fiercest of flame and heat by day and constant illumination of light and might by night which rules our tides and oceans. That “sun shall not smite us by day nor the moon by night.”
We worship, we serve, we are loved by a GOD whose word promises that HE SHALL PRESERVE us from all evil … and that is a great promise, an assuring hope for the body. HIS WORD goes even beyond safeguarding our bodies, our lives, the lives of those we love, but greater still, His word affirms that HE SHALL PRESERVE our Soul! Many of us have, surely, lifted our eyes unto those hills, whether in Vermont or New Hampshire.
However, not only have the leaves upon the mountains been glorified by His Almighty hand and attained their peak for the eyes to see and the soul to be, but this PSALM lays bare for us promises when the leaves have fallen and the storms of winter silence the hills with the softness of snow, “The Lord shall preserve our going out and our coming in from this time forth and even for evermore.”
This is the God who indeed HELPS when we lift up our eyes unto the hills. This is the God whom we worship in our churches across the landscape of northern New England, sheltered by this promise, secured by this hope, saved by His Grace and redeemed by His Son! We are the people of His Word! His Truth is from ever-lasting to everlasting and together when we seek in our time His help…. together as One Body, we can affirm not only to each other, but all those who walk along the path, that our God will not slumber during tremulous times. We can proclaim with the psalmist then and alongside God’s people now, in times like these, that “OUR HELP COMETH…from the Lord which made heaven and earth.”
- Mary Robbins
Christ’s Church, Saxtons River
Trinity United Church, Seabrook and their interim pastor William Main
American Baptist Women’s Ministries of Vermont and New Hampshire