My Shield, Glory, Lifter of my Head
But you are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me
and lift up my head.
When life as I knew it flew apart that July day, I knew I needed to drink deeply from the truth and comfort God gives in the Bible. As my heart and mind swirled and focus was hard to find, I decided that I would just do the Psalms in order … take that order into my chaos and see what God might do with my meager attempts.
Psalm 3:3 jumped off the page and seared into my heart. It was a promise for the present trial and a hope for the future. I began underlining any verses I could find that stated that God is my shield, my protection, my fortress, or my Rock. (Psalm 5:11-12, 7:10, 9:9, 18:2, 28:7, 31:20, 33:20, 61:4, 84:11, 91:4, 115:9, 119:114, 144:2, etc.). I was desperate for him to show me that strength and power and to envelope me. I felt like I was walking on shifting sand, nothing I thought was true about my marriage seemed to be reality. Facts previously unknown to me slapped me in the face and heart with the cruel betrayal and truth. I needed a shield from the enemy’s arrows. I needed a Rock to hold me steady and firm.
The Psalmist trusted God to be a shield around him. Could I trust him too? Could I rest under the security of his wings (Psalm 91)? An image was described by one praying friend who envisioned my protective angel as having wings that were “hard as steel on the outside but with gentle down feathers underneath.” Did I have the courage to rest in the softness and trust the steel?
And what about the glory? How was I to think about that? I had never known such overpowering shame before. I wanted to hide … in fact those first days I could barely manage a trip to the grocery store without racing home to the protection of my walls. I felt so vulnerable, like an ominous cloud hung around that spoke to any onlooker of my life’s agony. How could God love through that to bestow glory, his glory, on me? What kind of amazing God of love is that? What worth did he see in the person whose life seemed scattered to the wind?
And before I even realized how downcast my heart and countenance were, God promised to lift my head. He gave me hope that what I was feeling in those hours and days wasn’t the end of the story. He would take my face in his two God-sized hands and lift my head to look from the grime on my feet to the glory in his face. At first I could only snatch a glance before needing to hide. But over time, in his gentle persistence and through the love of so many around me, I’ve been able to walk a little taller and spend more time gazing intently on the one who loves me so radically.
Jesus, my shield, my glory bestower, the lifter of my head.
Oh God, give me courage to trust you when the world seems so untrustworthy.
When I have no glory of my own, let me look on your and reflect that to the world.
When I lose my focus on you and instead see only the grime
on my feet and heart, lift my head.
I love you, Jesus.