“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God and I am trusting in Him.” (1)
I’m searching for it. Shelter. Protection and rest seem elusive. There is too much noise, so much confusion. This landscape is so dry, hot and barren and I am weary. I found shelter, rest and protection once upon a time. Somehow, bit by bit and small step by small step, I came out from the places of safety. Oh, it was very subtle, my wandering; slow and insouciant; without the purposeful intent of distancing myself and going too far, but nonetheless I left my safe haven. It felt a little exhilarating to be out on my own, managing things well and keeping things orderly and controlled. I have learned so much! Venturing out a bit from under the shady covering seemed fine, good, well deserved. I felt stronger and Your strength lifted me up and gave me confidence.” I am stronger”, I said. ‘There are things I can do on my own.” “Watch yourself do it, watch yourself succeed and use that new strength,” Self Reliance said, soft as a whisper. “You know you can, I know you can and so does He”, Ego breathed. “Trust yourself,” Pride hissed in my ear, “you know yourself best, after all.” Well, only a little way out from the shelter should be fine, I won’t be gone long….
A little way out turned out to be quite a journey. There were so many cheerful, encouraging voices urging me on, out into the unknown. “Go on!” they shouted, “look at you, you’re free, you’re doing this on your own, bringing all your knowledge and understanding. Now it’s time to use it, show what you’re made of!” “You are needed out there!” Yes, yes I am needed and I have so much to offer, how could I not use it?” I begin to notice that things are not so easy anymore; control is not coming so willingly and my knowledge and understanding are not adequate. My strength isn’t enough and I am weary, thirsty, afraid. Anxiety and worry are like leaches that I cannot shake off, that dog me exhaustingly, and relentlessly until there seems to be no way out from under the heavy weight I am carrying on my back. I grow weaker and weaker under the pressure of it all. The once friendly, encouraging voices have changed their tune. Instead of cheers and words of praise for my strength and knowledge, I hear mocking laughter so full of malice it is unbearable. The chaos that surrounds me sucks all peace and beauty from where I find myself. I am in a wasteland of my own making and I cannot save myself. I am sure You must have abandoned me, left me to my own devices. Weariness overtakes me and I have nothing left. I am undone. Lowering my face to the dirty and sandy ground, I feel something soft, light, lovely and gentle cushioning my cheek. I begin to cry, asking You to come and rescue me. You come. I sense a presence more glorious and breathtaking than anything I have ever known, come over me. The shade, the shadow, the shelter; it is here. You are here. Looking up, I see You. At your feet are angels, against whose wings I am resting my cheek. You are the most powerful, wild and terrible, yet beautiful vision I have ever seen! You stand above me with Your wings spread out over, above and all around me; my refuge and my fortress. Your eyes are closed and I hear the song again! The song that You sang over me before, when Your mercy and love rescued me. Your eyes hold mine and the deepest feelings of acceptance and worth pool and flow around and over my heart, my soul, my entire being. Bathed in Your mercy, washed in Your love. Shelter. Rest. Refuge. Safety. I lie at Your feet feeling light, free and at peace. I am wanted. Your angels lift me up and I sit at Your feet, looking back over the places I’ve been. I notice my wayward path. I can see where stones, traps and snares were shoved away. Small pieces of feathery white, show brightly against some of the larger rocks, where they were snagged as a way was made for me. “He orders His angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.”(2) I was protected, even along the path that I was not meant to walk.
“Watch daughter,” You say. Subtly, the air begins to stir, gently at first and then stronger and more violently. The atmosphere sizzles and snaps and I am frozen to my spot under Your wings. There is a commotion, a rupture of sorts and it throws me to my knees. Fire, wind and lightening begin spewing and shooting all around as I watch with my eyes, the destruction that comes. It is terrifying. Something huge is shifting and rending the ground I am standing on; like a break, a rupture, a bringing down of giants. Strongholds. You are breaking them. It is chaos and destruction and storms, but I am untouched. The wind and air are warm. There is enormous power at work here, beyond anything I have ever witnessed. Suddenly, I am lifted up off of my knees and something slams into my body; it is supernatural; terrifyingly beautiful. A bright light explodes in my chest and eyes and I feel so incredibly hot that I am numb. I can’t breathe, but that force is breathing for me. I turn my face up to the sky and open my mouth and sing. I sing with such force and strength that I can feel my chest and throat thrumming from it. As I watch the sky, my voice becomes a huge beam of white-blue light that points straight up to the clouds, parts them and points into Heaven. The sound of my singing is so beautiful. I have never heard anything like it. There are no words that I can understand, but the sounds are beyond description. As I sing and sing, other voices join me that are even more beautiful and haunting than my own, but blend beautifully, perfectly. The deep is calling to deep and I am part of it. I see it, feel it, hear it and know it. It is almost too much to take. A communion with Heaven. Then it fades and is gone. I am left completely spent, lying face down, trying to process in my finite mind what I was just blessed to witness. Sounds of peace and singing, scents of beauty brush over me, soothing, healing, filling the redeemed places with validation of Your love for me, Your desire to make me whole, Your desire for me. Simply me. I am wanted, not needed, and that realization brings a tender joy that I accept and hold tightly. I can trust you with me. Gingerly raising myself up from the ground, I immediately notice that I am no longer in a wasteland. I am on ground that is alive with hope, joy, and new life. Strongholds were broken this day. This fresh, new ground was watered with my tears and my cry to my Father that I love, to rescue me, to bring me back to His shelter. You did. I have found rest.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty…because He loves me,” says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (3)
(1) Psalm 91: 1-2
(2) Psalm 91: 11-12
(3) Psalm 91: 1, 14-16