Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
On dark streets
My mom taught me to whistle if I grew afraid when walking home at night. There were large old trees overshadowing the sidewalk where we lived. Lots of shadows and little help from the few scattered streetlamps. I have to confess whistling helped. Of course, my strange mind began to think it would make a good signal to bad guys that I was afraid. Ah, here comes a victim!
I will protect those who know my name,” says God through the psalmist, and we want this to mean we will be protected from life’s misfortunes. I understand the urge. I have prayed the prayers. But the truth is we live a more daring challenge: to face the trials life brings with a confidence that God will not let us go. When we are swept along by the floods of life, our hand is held firmly. God’s deliverance is not ultimately measured by physical safety, but by God’s fidelity to his promise that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
This is why Jesus can say that persecutions will come and some with be killed, “but not a hair of your head will perish.” The promise is not that I get to enjoy a safe and comfortable life; the promise is that I get to enjoy the life that cannot perish. That life is not mere whistling in the dark; it is the joy of a wedding feast overflowing with the finest wine, it is a spring of water bubbling up within, it is five loaves feeding five thousand with twelve baskets to share with the poor, it is eyes that have never seen now seeing, it is Lazarus called forth from the grave.
Even on dark streets.