I Shall Fear No Evil

Quietly she slipped through the trees, unnoticed. She left the dark hood over her head, concealing her face, and protecting herself from the harsh wind. Her long skirts dragged in the mud, making it harder than usual to move with speed. Suddenly lightning lit the sky, reflecting in her fearful eyes, and thunder cracked, causing her ears to ring. She covered her mouth as she gasped, trying to keep from screaming. Involuntarily, she started to shiver. Already active butterflies multiplied and added to their antics. She must stay hidden, she must remain undetected, she must not be found. The secrets she carried were too great to be discovered by enemy forces.

Her name was Sarah Nelson. The year, 1776. At 17, she was already doing what she could to support the American side in the Revolutionary War. Despite the risks, this often meant she had to make dangerous treks across enemy territory to deliver notes to the American captains. These notes must never fall into the hands of British captains, nor must she ever be caught traveling across their terrain.

The storm that night made it slightly easier as she did not expect any soldiers or patrolmen to be out in such rain or lightning and thunder. Horses often shied, and men hardly could be expected to stand watch at the risk of being struck and killed. As if confirming her thoughts, the rainfall increased and it began to soak through her normally waterproof cloak. The cold began to seep into her body. Her teeth chattered and she could barely move her fingers. The fear came back in full force as a tree fell just in front of her, victim to the blustering and angry wind.

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” The words from the familiar psalm ran through her mind. “I shall fear no evil,” she finished aloud. Surprised to hear her own voice above the sounds of rain, blowing leaves, and wind, she felt heartened. The Lord would protect her in this time of peril. Even when injury — or death — seemed imminent, she would trust on Him to guard her from the dangers.

Little did Sarah know, a watchman was out on duty. He sat with his back against a tree, just praying the lightning would not choose this one for its next casualty. He had glimpsed what he thought was a figure moving from tree to tree. When the lightning flashed, the brightness of it had inhibited him from seeing clearly whether or not it was a human form. After his eyes adjusted to the dark again, he could not find the figure again. Telling himself it was just his imagination, he resumed his anxious prayer.

There! There it was again! It was too tall and slender to be a deer. It had to be human.

“Animals aren’t dumb enough to be out in this weather anyway,” he muttered to himself. He watched closely, careful not to lose the shadow. It didn’t move like a man, nor did it seem to be wearing britches. But a woman? Out tonight in this rain? It was beyond his wildest imaginings, so he crept closer. After watching a few more minutes in which the woman seemed to move only a few yards, he decided to stop her. That was his duty, after all. So he positioned himself behind a tree in her path. When she was near him, he stepped from behind it and ordered her to halt.

Startled, Sarah gasped loudly. Her heart pounded nervously in her throat and ears. Eyes searching the soldier’s face wildly, she discovered he looked no older than 20, the age of her brother. But she obeyed his voice and halted.

“What is your business here?”

Frantically, Sarah searched for an answer. “I am—” she squeaked. She started over. “I am making my way through to visit my mother. She is giving birth tonight.”

“Where are you coming from?”

“My uncle’s home. I visited this morning to see how my aunt was doing with her new baby. When the rain came, I decided to stay the night. Then word reached me of the arrival of Mother’s baby.”

“Why do you have no chaperone?”

“None could be spared.”

He eyed her suspiciously. The story seemed likely, but he was taught never to trust. But she looked so young and fearful! She could never be trusted as a spy. Trusting in his own judgment, he decided to allow her to pass through.

“All right. May God grant you safety through these woods!” He stepped aside.

Sarah scurried past him, curtsying and thanking him profusely. “My mother will be eternally grateful for your understanding!”

Once she could no longer see him, she fingered the note tucked in the bodice of her dress, not believing she had escaped undetected. The psalm ran through her mind again. Tears ran down her face. She could not even pray, her relief was so great.

The Lord was truly good to her. He truly kept His promises.

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~ by neverxxforsaken on April 16, 2009.

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