Sharing Our Faith Together

A Watchword in Times of Trouble

by Jenny Kilour 23 March 2020

For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand,
saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Isaiah 41:13 (Authorised Version)

For my fifth birthday, my maternal grandmother gave me a Bible, one which bears the scars of travelling everywhere with me until I could access its contents online. Back in 1953, the traditional choice was the Authorised Version, so that’s what she gave me. Black bound and with tiny print, I treasured it. I was a precocious reader, and able to read (almost) every word in it. When I became a teenager, she inscribed on the flyleaf “Isaiah 41:13”.

This verse has been, to use an old-fashioned phrase, my watchword in times of trouble. It has been my comfort through bereavement, separation, illness, straitened financial circumstances and much more, and I use the word “comfort” in the sense of giving strength and support and aid. It is my comfort now as I am separated not only by geographical distance from loved ones, but also by self-isolation from the community as I recover from the symptoms of COVID19. I am grateful for friends who have contacted me by phone for a chat or to check whether I need shopping or a prescription collecting.

There is a cartoon - for want of a better description - in the Bayeaux Tapestry with the caption (translated): “Here Bishop Odo, holding a club, comforts the boys”. Today we don’t have a club-wielding bishop goading us into action, but maybe we can stop panicking and concentrating on ourselves, instead looking outward to fighting the long battle ahead caused by an enemy less than one fiftieth the size of a red blood cell. With God’s help, we will!

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May God our heavenly father,
help us as we confront
all that makes for death and despair
in our lives, our communities, our world.

May the peace of the Lord Jesus go with us
wherever he may send us.
May he guide us through the wilderness
and protect us through the storm.

May his Spirit help us
to rejoice in what we can do
and give us strength
to comfort and support one another
through the times ahead.