Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Mindful Monday: Be Not Afraid

jesus statue.jpg
I used to sing “Be Not Afraid,” in the shower as an anxious child. It was the one song that gave me great comfort, and every time I hear it, at Sunday Mass or at a funeral, I tear up. It never occurred to me that the last line of this song, “Come follow me, and I shall give you rest,” is exactly what was written at the base of the Jesus statue in the Hopkins building, where I experienced the first moment of hope after eighteen months of suicidal depression.
I don’t think I would have associated the two had not a gracious reader of my Guideposts piece (in which I described that moment in front of the Jesus statue) been so kind as to make a card for me with the Jesus statue on the front with the words “Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” A day later, when we sang the hymn at church, I realized the message of hope was connected: the words I sang as a scared girl and the promise of rest I needed as a depressed and worn-out mother.
In case some of you haven’t ever heard “Be Not Afraid,” here are the lyrics. I hope they give you comfort and consolation, as well.
Be Not Afraid
By Bob Dufford
You shall cross the barren desert,
but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety,
though you do not know the way.


You shall speak your words in foreign lands,
and all will understand,
You shall see the face of God and live.
Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.
If you pass through raging waters
in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amidst the burning flames,
you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow’r of hell
and death is at your side,
know that I am with you, through it all
Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.
Blessed are your poor,
for the Kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn,
for one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked men insult and hate you, all because of Me,
blessed, blessed are you!
Be not afraid,
I go before you always,
Come follow Me,
and I shall give you rest.


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  • veronica

    This is perfect. It has been a “bad” time the last two weeks…I can cry today, I have wanted to cry and today
    I can cry. That is blessing. The sick feeling that is with me each day makes it tough, but I pray for courage……so much courage. God Bless.

  • LISA

    LOVE THIS!!!!

  • janice

    As I struggle with day to day life issues, I as many sometimes feel alone. Bills, jobs, children even as they are grown are a constant worry for a mother. When i feel overwhelmed to the point of tears, aloneness, and fear I repeat these lines; For this I have Jesus! it is well with my soul!!! and last but not least I carry a small card with me which reads, Lord help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I can’t handle together!!!
    God Bless!!!! :)

  • Vicki

    This beautiful song is often sang during funeral masses at our church but is so fitting for more than just a funeral. In times of trouble and trial, it is truly a comforting hymn.

  • Michele

    I have always loved this song and reading the lyris makes me love it more even today. We sang this at both my mother’s and father’s funerals and it reinforced to me that they were in good hands.

  • tONY

    I can really appreciate the words, ” be not afraid ” especially at age 66 when, sometimes I battle the old sinking feeling that death is now definitely a reality well within range. I remarried at 63 thinking my life had taken a turn, the likes of which I could not know. It did. But not as I expected. But in the middle of turmoil in a seemingly loveless and unredeemable relationship with a woman I thought was meant for me through destiny, I hope to take courage in the fact that while God either wills things to happen for his reasons alone, or lets them happen to obtain a better end, I know that I will tread this water and swim this sea knowing that someday, somehow, I will eventually make it to the other side. In closing, I am also reminded that while I cannot always like the situation I am in, am constantly reminded of my blindness to self and my own faults which may unwittingly be contributing to my dilemna. In that respect I pray for God’s forgiveness and his grace. AMEN

  • Max

    Thank you for posting the lyrics. Does anyone know where I can obtain a good recording of the song?

  • kim

    What an awesome and comforting song!Fear has stagnated me for years,my relationship with the LORD has been like a roller coaster.But I HAVEN’T given up yet! Thanks for the lyrics of this song,for it was a love letter to my soul.

  • San

    I was so surprised to open this post and see what you wrote about that song, a song that has been of comfort to me for MANY years. My story is a lot like “Tony’s” above, in that I too thought I had found the love of my life and a blessed gift from God–about 2 years ago. After a rocky 6 months or so, I felt God had played a cruel trick on me. I was destroyed, for the most part, and did not know what to do when the end of that relationship cost me my church (also thought to be “home at last”) and much of what had become a joy to me. Then, like him, I found my way to a new place I never would have found had not the relationship(s) ended. That song was comfort to me then, as were many other songs recorded 30+ years ago by Weston Priory. I am grateful God and my faith have brought me to where I am today, despite many grieving times that come and go. Thanks for the reminder, once again, that faith can literally save us when all we know seems lost.

  • Collette

    You may also enjoy the song ‘You Are Mine’-YouTube link above.

  • Foufou

    Thanks – Tony and San for your input. I, too, had been so lonely and thought maybe I should find some man to love and have companion with after my husband died many years ago. However, everytime I think of that I have a mixed feelings. I decided instead to put my energy through some kind of multicultural organization through my church where I am bringing together different groups with different languages and cultures to rejoice with the Lord and sing for him in our different multicutlural backgrounds. I am still in the process of doing that and creating other programs.
    I would love if you, the writer, could give me the name of the Youtube or where I can get the song you mentioned “Be not afraid”. I would like to present it to my group in the church.
    Thanks for your input.

  • shannon nealey

    For a woman that has buried 2 lost 10 childern,been stabbed 27 time’s,Those word’s mean alot but,I konow he will carry me alway’s.I have heard his voice and felt him touch me all through the 3 and a half hour stabbing in front of my childern he was alway’s right there I felt his peace and love so I know he is very real.Thank you again for these word’s.

  • Joy

    I love “Be Not Afraid.” Other songs that I find comforting or that give me hope are “It Is Well With My Soul”, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow”, and “Whispering Hope”.

  • Shon

    The scriptures say that to look upon the face of God is to perish. There are only 144,000 that will get to enter Heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. The scriptures DO say to be a follower of Jesus and he will give us rest. It is important to read your bible and discern for yourself…do not be preached at…that is a good way to end up on the wrong road…the wide road leading off into distruction. It is a pretty song, but it is deceitful as well.

  • Rita

    I too love that hymn. It shows up in the movie “Dead Men Walking”. Powerful.

  • Edie

    Another great oldie-but-goodie, often part of my AA-related gatherings in large groups (area conventions, etc.) is “Amazing Grace.” That one is especially dear to me because when I could not find a solid faith in the “church God” of my childhood, I could still have faith in the ideas expressed in that old hymn. There is no mention, as far as I know, in any of the verses of that song, of a deity, Jesus, Mohammed, Bhudda, etc., no specific religious doctrine, gender, age, etc. Just that marvelous idea of “grace” – “…was lost but now I’m found…was blind but now I see…through many dangers, toils, and snares… grace has brought me safe, thus far, and grace will lead me HOME.”
    The words are sometimes a tiny bit different, but considering all the places, purposes, and languages in which or for which I’ve heard this sung, it is truly AMAZING how universally it seems to apply. At a recent funeral I attended (for a retired police officer friend), there wasn’t a dry eye in the huge church as the Police Dept. bagpiper played “Amazing Grace,” the flag-draped coffin was carried out by uniformed police Honor Guards, and we all sang, despite those lumps in our throats.
    I simply love the idea that I wasn’t “bad” before finally giving up the struggle (with booze, and later with chronic periods of deep depression) and letting my Higher Power / Great Spirit take over. I wasn’t BAD, I was LOST. Now I’m not perfect or even always good, but I’m FOUND, going down the path so many others lighted up for me, so I could at last SEE. I know (though I forget, the reminders are all around) as long as I keep trying, I’m being led toward peace, love, and HOME. Thanks to all of you for sharing YOUR grace with this lost ol’ soul. -Edie A.

  • Erica

    Thank you Therese for the “Be not afraid” entry. Though I never attending Mass at the church you mentioned, Johns Hopkins U is my alma mater. That aside I wept with joy when reading the song and accompanying scripture. I hurt so bad right now. I became dependent on narcotic pain meds due to chronic pain and recently began the process of detoxing with a certain medication for that process (under a doctor’s care of course). Also lost my job in May, doing something I loved but it has allowed me to focus on getting better. I have been holding on to God for dear life!!!! Walking through the fear of financial issues, my physical condition, and many regrets regarding choices and things in my life has been excruciating at times. Reading about your struggles and triumphs with mood disorder have really touched and inspired me.
    Thank you so much and God Bless!!!!

  • Denise

    I also love this hymn. Another that helps is “Lead Me Lord” which helps me to remember to Let Go and Let God. This is NOT easy but I try every day. Right now I am looking for a second part-time job as my formerly full-time position has been reduced to part-time. My beloved eldest son — a newly admitted lawyer — is trying SOOOOO hard to find employment — it has been said that this is the worst year ever for lawyers to find jobs. And on Sunday my best friend for the past 35 years succumbed to a two year battle with cancer was laid to rest today. I know that none of this is in my control — I need to Let Go and Let God!

  • Joe Colotario

    I love this song. I used to play guitar and sing it at mass when I played in our church’s folk choir. I improvised with harmonies and just sang, sang, sang…:-)

  • Nancy James-Policastro

    Dear Therese,
    There is one other hymn which is in competition in my opinion with “Be Not Afraid” for number one. The only problem is, I can’t remember the name of the other hymn. I sang it at my grandson’s funeral mass in 1997. Ashton Cole passed at the age of three weeks and three days from a heart defect. He is in a better place, but still loved and missed by his family.
    I love BeliefNet and have sent it to several people. Many times I copy and paste the quote of the day on my facebook page.
    God Bless You and your family Therese. I hope to meet you one day.
    Love & Prayers,

  • judith

    so connecting to read both the writings of therese and the comments of those who have like me been touched by her words.We live such isolated lives. children gone . living their lives far away, a life that did not turn out the way we had thought it would, loneliness,alienation. it is comforting to feel that I am still part of the human race. that there are others out there like me searching for that light, that place, that warm hand.

  • G. Valdez

    I too love this hauntingly wonderful hymn, and yes, I too choke up when singing it. I used to think it was sappy on my part to get teary eyed until I recognized that when you focus on the words and message therein, you come to embrace the love God has for us. I have asked my wife to have this and “It Is I Lord,” as two hymn that MUST be sung at my funeral.

  • Mary Lou Bukowski

    I just came from mass a few hours ago and this was one of the hymns played today. Like many, I too well up with tears when I hear it. I first heard this hymn when I was going through a very rough time in my marriage and because of it turned my thoughts to the Lord for help and strength. Now, many years later although the marriage did not work out my life is better and my faith is stronger for it.

  • Mary Knoblock Hamsing


  • MaryAnn

    I have never heard this hymn but have made a copy of the lovely words. If any one has a recording would you pass it on? If nobody can-I will go search at the Christian Book Store a few miles from me. Thank you.

  • Eulogy

    I did not know this one either but I like it very much.

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