I was at the 2013 Boston Marathon when it was brutally interrupted by two successive explosions. As smoke and screams of terror clouded the scene, my heart sank with fear, but in that very instant the words of a beloved psalm poured into my thought and brought me a sense of calm and comfort.
The words were from the first verse of Psalm 91: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” I couldn’t remember what came next, but that one thought was enough. Holding on to and trusting the truth in that verse, I found courage and the ability to think clearly. Soon, I was able to help comfort those around me and to usher them away from the area so that first responders could attend to the scene.
What has struck me about this experience is just how immediately the presence of God became apparent right when I most needed it. The simple thought that God, good, is present and powerful penetrated through the darkness, awakening me from fear to love, and enabling me to pray for those in need. As a hymn says: