I contracted an acute case of the heebie-jeebies. I’d been watched and followed.
I spent the summer after my freshmen year in college in ministry at Virginia Beach, Virginia with Campus Crusade for Christ. A mission at the beach—somebody had to do it. A young, crisp nineteen-year-old who wanted to make a difference in the world. Pursuing Christ with my whole heart with a passion to make Him known.
College students from across the U.S. and one from England completed training sessions to prepare us for evangelism. We shared the gospel on the boardwalk several nights a week with Saturdays devoted to ministry on the beach, suffering in sand and surf. Crowd-gathering events of volley-ball and slow-motion football provided opportunities to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ.
Instead of raising mission-trip fees, students secured weekday jobs to accommodate living expenses. Four of us (three girls and one guy) became gainfully 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 before daybreak.
One journey brought an unexpected turn of events. The male co-worker overslept and did not accompany us. As we walked at breakneck speed, we passed a man loitering in a store-front a few blocks from the restaurant. We had seen him before.
I didn’t hear his footsteps. Without warning he grabbed me from behind breaking my gait and wrapped his arms around my upper torso. His chin pressed firmly into my neck as he murmured lewd words—his lips touching my ear. He released his grip and ran away. The girls with me appeared shell-shocked as they watched his shadow disappear past a streetlight and into the dark. I couldn’t look back.
Frozen, I felt my legs turn to rubber, barely able to carry me the rest of the way. I held my breath, terrified that he might still be lurking nearby or would come back for me. Safe inside the doors at work, I called the married couple leading the project. After we filed a police report, I spent several hours lying on my bunk—tears streaming—begging the Lord to calm my spirit and thanking him for protection from further harm.
The perpetrator knew our schedule, our every move. We traveled the same path at the same time each weekday. Three girls walking abandoned city streets without our male companion provided an auspicious moment.
Years later, I sense I’m being followed. These two beings will not stop pursuing me. They know the schedule I keep and the path I travel. This is an intentional pursuit from daybreak to nightfall and around the clock. After an investigation and reading the report on file, I’ve identified 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, “the best part of anything,”* is following me. God is the best part of anything—the best part of life and the best part of me.
Mercy, “un-failing love,”* is following me. It’s the compassion and kindness of God bringing forgiveness to mankind.
“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 assigned Goodness and Mercy to pursue His sheep—chase after and follow—relentlessly. They stay on the heels of the sheep at all times and watch their every move. The assignment duration? “All the days of my life.”
I can’t hear their footsteps, but I’m confident of their presence, wrapping their arms around me and never releasing their grip.
Goodness and Mercy are following me…all the days of my life.
I will never watch their shadows disappear into the dark.
Join in the conversation: Are you being followed? Can you see evidence of Goodness and Mercy in your life?
*New Living Translation
More information about Campus Crusade for Christ.
Featured image: Photography by Michael C. Friday
Additional image: Courtesy of Pixabay.com
Note: This article is a revised version of a past post, Are You Being Followed? It’s the inspiration for a book I’ll be pitching at a writers conference next week. I’d like to ask this blog community to be in prayer for God’s timing, leading, and plan. Pray the Lord would receive the ultimate glory in this project. Thank you!
© 2016 by Karen Friday, All rights reserved
May 19, 2016 at 9:30 am | Uncategorized