Green pastures are before me, which yet I have not seen. Bright skies will soon be over me, where darkest clouds have been. My hope I cannot measure, my path to life is free. My Savior has my treasure, and He will walk with me. (Anna Laetitia Waring 1850)
Waring’s natural images of “green pastures” and “bright skies” appealed to me a great deal when I was growing up. I trusted the idea that all of these blessings were before me, waiting to be experienced. But, as much as I liked visualizing the promise of these natural images in my youth, there came a time when they didn’t help me that much.
When I was isolated, struggling alone and working in various jobs and large cities, the future didn’t hold much hope. Sometimes I was digging into my small amount of savings just to pay monthly bills. Those times when I was struggling with the dark of depression, my habit was to say the words of this hymn, over and over in my mind. Eventually I saw past the bright promises to something else. And that’s why, decades ago, and still today, the comfort I find in the third verse of Waring’s poem comes in its last line—“and He will walk with me.”
What this assurance gave me was the realization that God didn’t just drop us into a bunch of moral and human struggles and then step back to watch how we handle them. We’re not abandoned here, self-existent and alone, navigating our way through this world’s obstacle course. As Jesus told his disciples in John, we aren’t expected to bear fruit here by ourselves, an isolated branch separated from its vine, from its source (15:4).
The “treasure” Christ has for us is that we are always companioned, always walking with him, ever connected and loved and forgiven. What finally reversed my years of hardship and struggle was a new and growing relationship with “my Saviour.”