The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?Psalm 27:1 NIV
If you are reading this, the chances are high that you know who God is — that He is your light and your salvation. But, how easy it is to let the cares and concerns of the day overtake our hearts and spirits and suck the joy out of our days.
It’s so easy to lose our focus.
Let’s start the day recognizing who God is. Once we do that, we also can easily see who we are — and who we are not. Too often the events of a day or a week confuse us about who we are and what we are to be about. Taking some time to be re-oriented every day — sometimes multiple times a day — helps us remember who our Creator is and that we need His light and perspective, and, most importantly, His salvation.
I was just getting into a decent rhythm but it has been shaken up a bit with this incredible health crisis. How about you? However, I am extraordinarily appreciative of the downtime but I still feel a bit scattered.
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
I find it very hard to focus on things at the moment. Our two youngest are staying with us which helps provide entertainment and distraction. They are funny people. But I need to come up with a temporary routine as we shelter-in-place in Indiana.
I do love how the world is coming together to share resources — from penguins walking around zoos so people can see the animals to illustrators giving video lessons to read alouds through the libraries. Churches who have not moved to the digital age are stepping out there and learning new things for their members. People are giving what they can in new ways! Let’s embrace and share those good things!
As for me, I am not full of fear but I am full of unknowns. I am waiting it out — all of it! Times are interesting, that is for sure.
Step away from the news. Hunker down in your homes. Cook new things. Try your hand at creating. Check in with the people you love!
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:4-5 NIV
Are you coming from a broken place? There may be many things that are demanding your time, but time for healing is so important. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs require focus. And when there is a need for healing, other things may need to take a back seat for a while.
When people are able to admit they have come from a broken place it seems they can share God’s love from the heart. I would prefer to hear about God’s provision in a messy life than hear about the perfect life any day! So don’t be fooled by Pinterest Perfection or Facebook Flawlessness or trying to present your life as the Instagram Ideal. God saves real people and meets them in the midst of their sins and brokenness. We don’t have to have to “pretty it up” for Him. God’s love can carry us through the healing process and it covers our multitude of sins. Let’s stop pretending that we aren’t wounded by the world but let’s not dwell in our wounds either.
If you find yourself dwelling in your situation then more healing may need to happen.
There is no timetable for grieving the losses we have endured in this life. But getting stuck for a long time in the grieving process is not a fun place to be either. God’s Word never fails to give me a fresh perspective on my circumstances. Finding time to be in His Word is essential for my healing and attitude. Being a part of a healthy congregation is important too! Identify those places that need healing and seek help through a trusted counselor or pastor. Let God’s love and forgiveness wash over you and rest in His grace.
If you take time to focus on healing, it may mean it is not your time for something else at the moment because we can’t do everything at once. Set the unimportant things aside and do the next right thing.
We used to have drills in elementary school in the 70s….fire drills and nuclear war drills. The Fallout Shelter sign was a common sight in schools and other places in our community. Do you remember them? It’s crazy to think that crawling under our desks was going to afford us much protection during a nuclear attack.
Spring rains can bring tornados and heavy flooding. Fires rage and gobble up homes and businesses. Have heard the words “Take Shelter Immediately!” ?Living near New York City at the moment, I like to explore the Big Apple and I often think about the chaos, the fear, and the destruction that occurred on September 11. 2001. I can’t even imagine that day in the city.
Sometimes it is hard to know which way to go.
There are other times that sort of chaos creeps into our lives:
A medical diagnosis
A job loss or change
All the details that go into a move
An unplanned pregnancy
A fractured relationship
Where do you take shelter?
I try to take those things that burden my heart to God. Even when I am at a complete loss for words and I don’t know what to say or think the Holy Spirit intercedes for me!
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26
But there are times when I am feeling particularly at a loss and I ask for others to pray for me. There is power in sharing our burden. It is encouraging to spend time with someone who provides a time of refuge from the challenges of the world. Praying with, praying for, or just taking time to listen to someone as they sort through their thoughts and feelings is a powerful way to provide shelter for them.
Pray for the eyes to see those who need some shelter. And if you are struggling and need your own, let God and His Word provide you with His covering. I pray you have one or two praying friends who are a safe haven and can provide a bit of sanctuary from the worldly challenges we are all subject to at one time or another.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1
Psalm 27 has so much good stuff in it!
And still, even with knowing the truths that are there, at times I am still fearful. I think I dwell on too many “what ifs”. I cannot control the future. Even though there are times I wish I could, it is for the best that I can’t. The best I can do is control my responses to situations. Knowing that the Lord is my shelter, my fortress, my salvation, my light, and the stronghold of my life helps me put the “what ifs” into a proper perspective.
Recently, to every “what if” I have been trying to say “even if” instead and I recount the promises of God’s presence, perspective, and peace.
Psalm 27:5 says “For in the day of trouble…” and it reminds me that we all have days of trouble. Sometimes there are many days of “trouble” in a row. But “he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”
There is no end to hardship in personal relationships, work situations, physical health, or the circumstances found in the world today because we live in a world full of sinners who make selfish choices. I have made quite a few sinful choices myself to the pain and detriment of myself and others. But God works in and through us and, often in spite of us to share His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love to our hurting world!