I wonder sometimes what I might find around the bend. “Around the bend” is an apt metaphor for the twists and turns of life’s pathway. No matter how long I have traveled my journey, no matter how much life wisdom I have gained, I never, ever know what what’s around the bend.
The pathway before me can frighten, even while I strain to see as far as I can into what lies ahead. The bend is sharp most times, and the angle hides my view. As I age, fear on the journey looms large, for I am completely aware of the dangers I might encounter around the first bend, and the next, and all the bends that are ahead of me. And yet, I am constantly graced with flashes of hope and faith whispering that what is ahead of me could be even better than what I have left behind.
The beautiful photo above by Steven Nawojczyk is a gift of calm waters bending in a gentle flow at the foot of a mountain, lightened by the golden rays of the sun. The image makes me believe that whatever is around the bend is lovely, peaceful, comforting, safe. And that is exactly what God would want me to believe, and woukd want us all to believe. I cannot help but think of the Psalmist’s affirmation that God “leads me beside still waters.”
In so many comfort-filled passages, the Psalmist offers sure and certain comfort. Hear the Psalmist’s words . . .
Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
Surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure . . .
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
— Psalm 16:1, 5-6, 8-9, 11 (NIV)
And hear the words of the Prophet Isaiah . . .
Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
— Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)
And so “around the bend” is not so frightening after all. In God — “who makes known the path of life” — there is comfort, safety, protection, constancy, and even joy. Thanks be to God.