In Isolation: March 23, 2020, “God Help Us When We’re Frightened”

An introduction to this “In Isolation” blog series appears at the top of the March 22 post.


Walter Farquharson grew up outside the tiny community of Zealandia, Saskatchewan. It is one of the smallest communities in the province to have been designated a town.

On my website, my writing partners are invited to offer reflections for the song words they have written. Today, I’m sharing with you the text of “God, Help Us When We’re Frightened” along with part of what Walter has written on the website for this piece. It is an anecdotal telling about the importance of having and being non-judgemental companions — just like Uncle Bert was to a very young Walter.

 

From Walter:
One winter evening, before I had started school, my family visited at my Grandmother’s home a mile down the road. Travel was by a sleigh drawn by a team of horses. After the evening meal the family dressed for the frosty trip down the road to home. I opted to stay the night with my Grandmother – a sleepover.
By bedtime it no longer felt like such a good idea – I began to feel alone, homesick, anxious, afraid. The upstairs room I was to share with my uncle seemed like an alien place. There were calls down announcing my desire to go “home”. Words of encouragement called up the stairs from my uncle and from my Grandmother. Then, another message. My Uncle Bert called up, “Better get up, Wattie, up and dressed. I’ll take you home.”

A few minutes later, well-bundled in warm clothes, I was on my uncle’s shoulders and we were on our way down the road, snow crunching beneath his feet, his breath and mine easily seen in the still, clear, very frosty night. He named stars and constellations for me, identified neighbour’s distant farm lights, talked of the coyotes, snowy owls, weasels and mice that would be sharing the evening moonlight with us. No complaining, no words of judgment, no warnings of dire consequences if there was ever a repeat performance. He spoke too of being afraid, of how natural it was, of how sometimes it served us well, about times he had been afraid and how sometimes he still knew fear.

“In love we’re bound together and freed from crippling fear. The love that was in Jesus shows us that you are near.”

And, in people like Uncle Bert.

God, help us when we’re frightened
and feel ourselves alone,
lead us to you who gives us
good bread and not cold stone.

By faith we see when darkness
hides meaning from our eyes.
By faith we walk with courage
when strength within us dies.

With hope we face tomorrow
and look beyond this day.
With hope we journey onward
when we can’t see our way.

In love we’re bound together
and freed from crippling fear.
The love that was in Jesus
shows us that you are near.

God, help us when we’re frightened
and feel ourselves alone,
lead us to you who gives us
good bread and not cold stone.

Words by Walter Farquharson
Copyright © 1979 by Walter Farquharson.
Administered by Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, Illinois • USA