“If you’re walking through the valley
And there are shadows all around
Do not fear, He will guide you
He will keep you safe and sound
‘Cause He’s promised to never leave you
Nor forsake you and His Word is true.” (Psalm 23:4)
I am sure we are all familiar with these lyrics. They are lyrics from Don Moen’s Christian worship music track “God Is Good All The Time“, from his 1995 Album titled, “Rivers Of Joy“. It’s such a beautiful reassuring hymn to sing during worship. But once you look into it a little deeper, it will hit you, it’s definitely no piece of cake!
Let us examine the above verse of the hymn literally. If you are walking through a random street in the city, known for a high level of crime, and they know you are not from the place. Would they not take advantage of you? God put me in this very situation and showed me His power! And that is what I want to share with you.
This incident happened in February 2014. I was studying at IIT Bombay at the time and was returning back from Goa to Mumbai just before my final semester of my master’s degree. I took an early morning flight from Goa to Mumbai and landed at Santa Cruz domestic airport. From there I took a Mumbai local from Ville Parle to Dadar and my plan was to change to central line at Dadar and take a train to Kanjurmarg which was my destination. What I didn’t realize is, when I switched lines at the Dadar station, I took a train to Kurla and after Kurla station, instead of continuing, the train would go to the warehouse parking area away from the station.
So when I reached the Kurla station, almost everyone seemed to be getting off the train and I was wondering why were there less people in an otherwise extremely busy route. It was only when the train started; I realized it was taking another track into an area with very tall grass and away from the roads and railway stations. Not to mention, it was a slum type area, totally out of a Slumdog Millionaire movie! Oh, did I mention? I had a lot of money on me as I was supposed to pay the fees for the next semester. I was literally contemplating jumping off the train as it slows down because I did not like where it was going further. It was an isolated railway section past Kurla railway station.
As soon as the train stopped, I jumped off and started to walk along the tracks towards the station, which was barely visible in the distance. As I began to walk, I was avoiding eye contact with the people around, but noticed everyone was staring at me. I was constantly reminding myself that I am walking on the tracks so I need to look on both sides for a speeding train. To my horror, after a while I noticed a group of four men following me. I decided to walk faster thinking they would be on their own way, but they also began to keep pace with me. Suddenly one of them started calling out to me and asking me where I am going. I just ignored it and continued walking.
I started to pray. They could have robbed me, as I was carrying a significant amount of cash, and on the other hand there was a really long walk to the station. And the isolation in the region wasn’t helping. I began to call out to God, “I am right now in a potentially dangerous situation. I need your help. I believe you come to my aid when I call on you. I need you to protect me now.” And began to pray in tongues.
“my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my saviour; you save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”
– 2 Samuel 22:3-4
In about two minutes a railway police officer appeared after crossing a few tracks. He came up to me and asked me in Marathi, “Where are you going?” I told him I was walking back to Kurla station as I took the wrong train to the warehouse. He walked with me for a while, told me to follow the tracks and be careful of oncoming trains. I started to walk faster and turned back to see if those men were still following, but surprisingly they weren’t. I took to my heels and literally ran to the station.
On reaching back to the campus, I was praising and thanking God for what He had done to protect me. I was certain the railway police was my guardian angel in disguise who came to my aid.
“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
– 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Today I know that I have a God who protects me even in the valley of Shadows. And I call on His name before starting my vehicle, before travelling, before taking on a task which seems impossible or dangerous. Because I know He is a faithful God and “His Word Is True“.