"So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you." (Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT)
"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for
you are with me." (Psalm 23:4a NIV)
It was a cold, dark Winter's night during my freshman year of college. I was at the local
pub drinking steadily with my friends. My body was starting to feel it too. My brain was numb
and fuzzy. My vision was getting a bit blurry. My fingers were tingling and my stomach was
churning. I felt like I could throw up at any second. Not wanting to embarrass myself in front of
my friends I said I was heading back to the dorm and walked out of the bar.
I stumbled my way across the road and took a side street through town to the intersection.
The worst part of my journey lay ahead, though. Our campus was in the mountains of West
Virginia and the dorm I lived in was built at the top of a long, steep hill. I looked up warily at
it and started to walk up the sidewalk. Suddenly, I was face down in the snow. The sidewalk
was covered in ice. I had caught myself with my hands, spraining both wrists but keeping my
head from cracking into the concrete. I got up again took two more steps and was down again.
This time my knee took the worst of it and started bleeding through my blue jeans. I could see
some students near the top of the hill laughing at me as they watched me fall again and again.
The steepest part of the hill was still ahead too and I didn't know how I was going to get up it
without seriously hurting myself. Then, all at once, my steps seemed to get steadier. The ice was
still underfoot and I was still terribly drunk, but I was no longer falling. Slowly, step by step I
made it to the top of the hill safely. I decided to give up drinking soon after that and have never
missed it since.
It is only now, however, that I see that I must have had some unseen help to make it up that
icy sidewalk on that cold, Winter's night. Even though I didn't ask for it, God and His angels
kept me safe that night just as they have kept me safe many times since then.
I know this life can often seem like a long, icy hill that we must climb and stumble our way
up. Yet, it is good to know that we don't walk it alone. God loves us and is with us every step of
the way whether we realize it or not. Why not reach out and take His hand? Why not walk with
Him with love in your heart and joy in your step? Why not bend down and help up a few others
who have fallen along the way? If you do you might find the hill isn't quite so steep. If you do
you might even find yourself dancing instead of slipping.
Joseph J. Mazzella