For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work;
but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so
till he is taken out of the way. 2 Thessalonians 2:7
But you are a shield around me, O LORD. Psalm 3:3
Hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me. Psalm 17:8-9
How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4
I have been asked on a number of occasions, “Do you ever wonder ‘why me?’” In conversing about my life’s events, a friend clearly said, “Your life is harsh.” Even those who agree with me that my Sovereign God has a purpose in all of this shake their heads in bewilderment at the depth of the pain, betrayal, loss, and ongoing issues. Not many want to walk in my shoes!
As I meet with weary ones who are trying to make sense of the trials and troubles of life's journey, I, too, am tempted to proclaim that life is harsh! They don't "deserve" this ... and that I would not want to walk in their shoes!
So often I'm reminded of the number of times my pastor included in his sermons the idea that while this world is a mess, in shambles, filled with pain, God in his mercy holds back the full extent of the evil that Satan would want to send to wreak havoc all the more. His intent is total destruction. God’s love for the creation and people that he has made compels him to hold the worst at bay ... and to breathe his good into the ugliness that seeks to consume us.
My life ... fraught with pain from betrayal, unfaithfulness in my spouse, the abuse of my children and me, the fallout of sin tearing apart relationships, the weight of a life of responsibility as a single parent ... watching my children hurt. My dreams of marriage and a happy and stable home have been shattered. The life of blessing in which I could spend so much time investing in and being with my children has changed to fulltime work and somehow balancing the needs of all of us. The ache of it all and the recurring playback of “this isn’t how it’s supposed to be” echo each day.
But it could be so much worse. The abuse could have been far more intrusive and debilitating ... and it could have gone on far longer undetected. I could have had no job and had to hit the streets looking for one. I could have lost my children to a system that might not have believed me. I could have lost my home and my income. The girls might have lost the stability of their school, their friends, and their loving teachers. My health could be at its lowest instead of its best in years. My family could have rejected me. My church could have accused or cast me away. I and my daughters could have been left without godly counselors to show us the way toward healing. I could be desperately alone on this walk. But I'm not. The "should haves" and "could haves" found a different way in the nurture of my heavenly Father's amazing mercy and grace.
God’s mighty hand has drawn the line and held back the total destruction that could have come my way with sin and evil bearing down with its full force. He has been my strong fortress, my shield, my defender. Under his wings I have found shelter. The wind still whips and lashes at my ankles, but my head and heart are safely in his care.
Friend, the same is true for you. Remember what we actually deserve. Take a look at the storm and yourself, but then turn your eyes into the fierce, loving eyes of God, who stands powerfully holding back the full force of what seeks to devour you. Know that as he controls the universe, his open arms invite you to a place of refuge. Nestle under his wings. He's got you covered!
Thank you for your mercy and your tender care.
Thank you for holding back the full force of the evil that would seek to destroy me.
Thank you for doing your amazing God thing that can turn ashes in to beauty.