From childhood, I could sing the Church hymns. I remember toting my Precious Moments Bible to church and sitting beside my parents on the second row each and every Sunday, singing all the popular and well-loved songs in the Church hymnal. Among my favorites was, Leaning On the Everlasting Arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms...
There's something about the word safe.
We live in a world where there is an abundance of murder, theft, rape, abuse, neglect, bullying, and abandonment. How can a person ever feel safe when crimes can go unpunished if you know the right person and have the right connections? How can anyone feel secure when vows are broken as easily as signing your name on a piece of paper? How can a person rest in any form of assurance when the whole world is consumed with people who are only looking out for number one? Safe? Where is safety found?
The Bible says that Jesus is a Refuge. It tells us time and time again that His love is abiding and His arms are outstretched, using words like "everlasting" and "eternal" to fill our hearts with comfort. His Word tells us of His character being a just God that keeps His word to a thousand generations. It says He sticks with us. He’s ever faithful; ever close. And He never, ever leaves.
You may have grown up hearing about Him and His attributes over and over again, as I did, and you may even believe it with all of your heart. But when the reality of a sin-cursed world is before you, when affliction and the thick darkness of overwhelming pain overshadow you, do you still believe that you are safe in His hands? Let's be honest. We are full of questions....
Why does God allow us to feel so forsaken?
Why does He let us experience such extreme loss and loneliness?
Why are His ways full of trials and testing and hardship?
If you feel like a target, like one forsaken, like one hopeless,
let me guide you to my favorite Psalm...
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
The word "dwell" means to sit down. Here, the psalmist gives us a beautiful picture of rest; comforting us by revealing the place of shelter we all long for. Those who come and sit in the secret place of El Elyon, the Most High God, will abide in the shadow of El Shaddai, the Almighty.
Then David makes a declaration of bold hope, calling the LORD his refuge, his strong fortress, and a place he can run to where he is safe. Confident that his God would protect him from the snares and the entanglements of the heathen nations around him, David boasts in His strength. Raising his voice to proclaim that he would no longer be afraid of the terror in the night, nor of the arrows that are aimed in his direction during the day, David declares that the arms of the great I AM are covering him, as an eagle's wing covers its nest. Think of GOD being your home...your habitation....your place of protection. What a beautiful, marvelous reality we have as His people!
David went on to say, "....His truth shall be (thy) shield and buckler."
The great psalmist knew that when we hunker down into the shadow of His wing and trust in the never-changing truth of God Almighty, we will see the light of His glory shine. We will experience His defence and preservation.
We are safe there, friends. Amidst the noise and the rousing accusations from the world, under His wing we can hear His gentle song. Clouded by the fog of fear and evil intentions, up in His nest, we can see through His eyes. Surrounded by thousands with threats of torture or even death, under his wing, we are safe.
Though we may not understand why any fearful or painful situation comes, take courage and know that the Savior is always scripting out His divine plan with His eternal glory at the forefront of the scene. This world and all its sin is not our home, friends. Our home is with our God. May we sit so close that our hearts begin to beat in rhythm with His, and may the shadow of His feathers be our dwelling place.