Patricia Hofer

The Glow of God’s Presence

Wherever He may guide me, no want shall turn me back. My Shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack. His wisdom ever waking, His sight is never dim. He knows the way He’s taking, and I will walk with Him. Anna Laetitia Waring (1850)

I’m now not sure I was guided to Boston when I went to that second youth conference as a teen. Maybe I wasn’t even guided to the first one a couple of years earlier. But I was back there again. This time a girlfriend from my Sunday school class went along. When we arrived at the hotel where we had a reservation, we found it to be a disgusting, seedy mess. There was no way we felt safe there. Flimsy locks and thin walls. So we grabbed our stuff and moved to the dormitory where I’d stayed before. We weren’t prepared for a dorm room, but some others there shared a couple of blankets and towels.

Anyway, I was lying on my top bunk clutching my one blanket, exhausted and scared to death. And then the words of Waring’s hymn came to me, and I went over them and over them again. The Shepherd is ever awake, she says, and “no want shall turn me back.” Then I suddenly felt God’s presence surrounding me. And that presence transformed the entryway light that we’d left on—making its globe enlarge and radiate with warmth and comfort and safety.

That night—when I was only a freshman in college and off on a willful trek that maybe shouldn’t ever have happened—I felt surrounded by God’s presence. And the image that brings that experience back with total clarity is the glow of that hallway light. Over the intervening decades, the comforting awareness I experienced in that dorm room in Boston has never faded or dimmed. My Shepherd was beside me then and is beside me now. And that same living Saviour is beside you now as well.

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