By Karen Friday
It was an acute case of the “heebie-jeebies.” A reminder I had been watched and followed.
The summer after my freshmen year in college was spent in ministry at Virginia Beach, VA with Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU). On a mission at the beach—somebody had to do it.
I was a young, crisp nineteen year old who wanted to spend summers making a difference in the world. Pursuing Christ with my whole heart and a passion to make him known.
Serving with college students from across the country and one from England, we completed training sessions to prepare us for evangelism. Sharing the gospel on the boardwalk several nights a week with Saturdays devoted to ministry on the beach among sand and surf. Crowd-gathering events like volley-ball and slow-motion football provided opportunities for proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ.
Instead of raising mission trip fees, beach projects required students to secure daytime jobs to accommodate living expenses. Four of us (three girls and one guy) were employed at a McDonald’s close enough to our housing complex to walk to work. We traveled up the boulevard during the wee hours of the morning.
One morning before daybreak, the scary and unexpected happened on our way. The male co-worker was not accompanying us, it was only girls. We passed a man loitering in a store front a few blocks from our destination. We had seen him before.
His footsteps were not heard and without warning he grabbed me from behind suddenly breaking my gait. Wrapping his arms around my upper torso, his chin pressed firmly into my neck, he murmured a vulgar statement in my ear, released his grip on me and ran away. The other girls were shell-shocked as they watched his shadow disappear past a streetlight and into the dark.
I was shaken to the core, dazed and trembling. Wrecked by fear, my legs became like rubber barely able to carry my body the rest of the way. Afraid “he” was still lurking nearby or would come back for me. Once inside the doors at work, a call was made to the married couple leading the project. After we filed a police report, I spent several hours laying on my bunk—tears streaming—asking the Lord to calm my spirit and thanking him for protection from further harm.
The perpetrator knew our schedule, our every move. We followed the same path at the same time every weekday. City streets were abandoned with no one milling around, minus the only male companion became an auspicious moment.
Years later, I discovered I’m being followed again. These two characters will not stop pursuing me.
They know the schedule I keep and the path I follow; an intentional pursuit of me from daybreak to nightfall and around the clock. After an investigation and reading the report, I can identify them:
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. Psalm 23:6 (ESV)
Goodness is described by dictionary.com as “the best part of anything.” Wow! God is the best part of any-thing…the best part of life…the best part of me. Goodness is following me.
Mercy is translated in other versions of this passage as “love” or “steadfast love.” The compassion and kindness of God bringing his forgiveness to mankind. Mercy is following me.
“The Lord is my Shepherd: I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1 (ESV) To ensure we will not want for the best part of life, The Great Shepherd has given an assignment: goodness and mercy will pursue his sheep—chase after and follow—relentlessly. The assignees are implored not to let up, to stay on the heels of the sheep at all times and to watch their every move. The assignment duration? “All the days of my life.”
Goodness and mercy are following me. Their footsteps cannot be heard, but I’m confident they are there. Wrapping their arms around me and never releasing their grip on me. And I will never watch their shadows disappear into the dark.
Are you being followed?
© 2015 by Karen Friday
March 5, 2015 at 9:00 am | Uncategorized