“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 localpub drinking steadily with my friends. My body was starting to feel it too. My brain was numband fuzzy. My vision was getting a bit blurry. My fingers were tingling and my stomach waschurning. I felt like I could throw up at any second. Not wanting to embarrass myself in front ofmy 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 WestVirginia and the dorm I lived in was built at the top of a long, steep hill. I looked up warily atit and started to walk up the sidewalk. Suddenly, I was face down in the snow. The sidewalkwas covered in ice. I had caught myself with my hands, spraining both wrists but keeping myhead 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 seesome 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 itwithout seriously hurting myself. Then, all at once, my steps seemed to get steadier. The ice wasstill underfoot and I was still terribly drunk, but I was no longer falling. Slowly, step by step Imade it to the top of the hill safely. I decided to give up drinking soon after that and have nevermissed it since.
It is only now, however, that I see that I must have had some unseen help to make it up thaticy sidewalk on that cold, Winter’s night. Even though I didn’t ask for it, God and His angelskept 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 wayup. Yet, it is good to know that we don’t walk it alone. God loves us and is with us every step ofthe way whether we realize it or not. Why not reach out and take His hand? Why not walk withHim with love in your heart and joy in your step? Why not bend down and help up a few otherswho have fallen along the way? If you do you might find the hill isn’t quite so steep. If you doyou might even find yourself dancing instead of slipping.
Joseph J. Mazzella