The song that the choir is going to sing in worship comes from the hymnal and it is called “I want Jesus to walk with Me.” It will not take long for you to figure out that it is a Negro spiritual. It has some repetition in it, but it lends itself to deep reflection. In the second verse, the words are: “In my trials, Lord, walk with me/ In my trials Lord, walk with me/ When my heart is almost breaking/ Lord, I want Jesus, to walk with me.” I spent some time pondering those words and two thoughts came to mind for me.
First, our understanding of trials is different across the board. We have members who seem to be running into one physical setback after another. Certainly, those are trials. We also have members who struggle every day to overcome grief’s firm grip. Those are trials too. We have others who are dealing with job loss or being under-employed or chronic poverty. Trials to be sure. And still others who have run into a variety of different obstacles as they have set on their “pilgrim journey.” Trials as well. What is important to remember is that the experience of trials is subjective, and they are real for the person experiencing them. Your trials are not less or more than the person next to you. Yours are yours, and theirs are theirs. What is important and what holds us in community is that we do share in common a sense of who can help us in those trials: Jesus.
The second is that the hymn never promises victory. It never promises that Jesus will make everything OK. We are not promised healing, or a job, or an oasis of happiness, or the removal of obstacles because of Jesus. What the hymn appeals for is Jesus’ presence in the midst of the trials. We are promised that our joy will come, not from resolution of our trials, but in the companionship of Jesus in the trials that we face. It is Jesus who embraces all of our questions and doubts and insecurities, and offers to walk the “pilgrim journey” with us, step by step.
I hope that as you worship this morning, you will find yourself offering up the prayer of this hymn: “I want Jesus to walk with me. As I walk this pilgrim journey, Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.” Blessings to you, and may you find Jesus walking with you in your trials.