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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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