By Elizabeth Congdon

“Is this how it feels to die?”

The fall down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night and the subsequent twenty-seven fractured bones rendered me helpless. I was led to the end of my resources. I was out of the driver’s seat. I had lost control. I could do nothing but pray. And my prayers were frequent and usually short, like “help,” or “please God.” Often they were “thank you.”

God was there. During those worst of times I felt God’s presence. It brought peace, confidence and encouragement. I felt loved by family and friends. They were there. I could feel God’s presence in music. I would remember hymns and I would sing along in my mind. Here are a few which were especially meaningful.

“Because He Lives” I can face tomorrow. “Because He Lives” all fear is gone. The chorus is:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

Fear would visit, but it did not stay long. I would be encouraged hearing the refrain from “On Eagle’s Wings” by Michael Joncas

And he will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
bear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun,
and hold you in the palm of his hand.

“Be Thou My Vision” by  Gloria and William Gather always strengthens me.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art –
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Another favorite- “Under His Wings” by William Cushing

Under His wings I am safely abiding.
Tho’ the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me.
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings – what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns for His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort and there I am blessed.

Under His wings – O what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore

“Trust and Obey” by John H. Sammis gave me peace.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, ony trust and obey.

My soul was weary and troubled and I could turn my eyes upon Jesus.

“Turn My Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen H. Lemmel

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.

“Be Still, My Soul” by Kathrina von Schlegel. The Lord is on my side.

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide,
who through all changes faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, they heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future surely as the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
his voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord;
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

With such words I was comforted. True, pain, fear, worry, and despair did make their presence known but they did not abide. They were replaced with God’s peace and the strength to go on.

MCWRET Retreat
April, 2016