When I was a child, my mother shared about her experience on a mission trip to Mexico. During that trip, years before I was born, she accompanied the pastor and a few others from her church. As they walked a steep hill, heading toward a distant village, they seemed to feel the burden of great spiritual oppression. The pastor enjoined them to sing “God walks the dark hills”.
My mother occasionally sang this song in the church we attended when I was a child. She was the song leader for many years. When I recall this memory, I can see her face and hear her voice. She sang as one with experience. She sang as one who knew God. She knew him imperfectly, but she recognized the appearance of his character in the Scriptures and in the lives of disciples of Christ.
A few days before she died, I told my mother how I cherished the memory of her telling me about singing in Mexico. She gave a weak smile. As we planned her funeral, she asked that we include this song. As the service began, the congregation heard the classic recording of Vestal Goodman singing “God walks the dark hills”.
Sometimes the hills are awfully dark. It especially seemed that way when my mother died: a great light was taken from my life. The pain of sin brings scars. The separation of death, the stench of decay, the sting of every failure: all these are signs of mankind’s waywardness from God. Yet, those who have been redeemed by the Lamb have hope beyond the toil of this life. We mourn not as those without hope. We rejoice that all shall be well in the kingdom of God.
God walks the dark hills. Christ shows us the way.