Daily Devotion 08 February 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Psalm 139: 7-12 ‘God’s Unfailing Care’

7 Where can I go from your spirit?  Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night’,
12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

My father, who was a Methodist local preacher for over forty years, used to tell a (true) story which I never tired of hearing as a lad – partly because of my interest in railways, and partly because it left such an impression upon me. Dad was an engineer (heating and ventilation) and had an office in Cardiff. He had a friend who used to take the train to London quite frequently and related the following experience to my father:

[box style=”2″]‘One morning I just managed to catch the Paddington express – the Red Dragon, if I remember – at Cardiff General, and it was only after I’d settled into what I thought was an empty compartment, when I noticed a little girl sitting in the corner. She looked about eight or nine years of age and was quite alone. The train was about to depart and – naturally concerned – I leaned across and asked her if there was a grown-up with her. “Oh, no”, she replied simply.

‘The next stop was Newport, about fifteen minutes away, and, to my surprise, she made no move to get out. I asked her whether anyone was meeting her, and she shook her head. “But this is an express,” I continued, “and it doesn’t stop until it gets to London.” “Yes, I know,” she answered. When we moved out of the station, my curiosity again got the better of me, and I asked her, “Excuse me, but aren’t you just a little bit frightened at travelling all alone on such a long journey? In a short while we go through a long tunnel and that can be quite scary!” “Oh no,” she replied with a smile, “you see, my daddy’s the engine-driver!”

Of course, as I grew older, I challenged my father on some of the theological assumptions of the story – true though it may well have been. How ‘alone’ is each one of us in life? Is our journey’s end pre-destined? I remember my father gently explaining to me that if you over-dissected parables you might miss the main point! In this case, the simple truth, affirmed as long as 3000 years ago by the Psalmist, is that – though we may seem sometimes to be travelling alone, we are never unaccompanied. Our Father’s love never leaves us. His love never smothers or inhibits us, but allows us to grow as individuals into the people He intends for us to be – and we pray that that will be in the image of his Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


Father God, remind us of your everlasting love for us;
reassure us of your presence alongside us, every moment of every day;
grant that we may travel with you, comforted and strengthened.
And may we comfort and strengthen those with whom we journey. Amen.

Reflection © 2021 Barrie Tabraham.
Image freely available online.

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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356

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