Dwelling in the Secret Place – 2

Written Oct 2012: Psalm 91 verse one reads: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (NKJV). The NIV reads: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. If you think about it, to be in the shadow of the Almighty, you need to be close to Him. And there, the scripture says, we will rest. What kind of conditions do we need in order to rest? Do we not need to have our basic needs met? To be fed and warm and safe? Protected from harm? A place without fear? I can just imagine that if I were resting in the shadow of the Almighty God that there is no reason to fear. He will protect me. Psalm 27:1b says, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” Even this psalm 91 in verse 9-11 states: “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your habitation (dwelling), No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.” How nice. But is this my reality? How long have I lived in fear? As far back as I can remember I have been afraid. As a child, it was the monsters under the bed. As a teen it was men. Then terror was introduced into my life when I was 17 when I was assaulted and strangled. Ever since then it has been my life- long companion. I took science at university out of fear of disappointing my parents. I made mediocre marks out of fear of failure. I drank out of fear that I would remember the pain. I considered suicide out of fear that the pain would never get better. I married (the first time) out of fear that the next man might be worse. I stayed out of fear that I would disappoint God. I divorced out of fear for the safety of my children. I keep looking over my shoulder and my doors locked out of fear that he will show up again. But this is not what God intended. Doesn’t Jesus Himself say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28)? Why do I continue to carry this burden? Why do I not find rest? 1 John 4:18 says “perfect love drives out fear.” I used to think that since I was afraid that it was my fault – I am not “made perfect in love” yet as the end of that same verse states. But we know that God is love. In His shadow, His love will cast out my fear. My problem is not that I am not perfect, but that I wander out of His shadow. For many years after my assault I did not trust God. I blamed Him. Not for the assault, but because He didn’t let me die. Because I suffered such pain after. Didn’t He know what I would go through? But it was me that made the pain worse. I searched for healing in the world. Not in God. I drank, did drugs, got involved with men, got more hurt, did it all over. How can I blame God for that pain? If I run off of the path that He has clearly marked for me to travel and instead follow what I think is a fuzzy bunny down a rabbit trail just to find out that it was a vicious animal that mauls me and tears up my flesh leaving much pain and scars, can I blame God? If He is calling me into His shadow for safety and rest and I run the opposite direction with my fingers in my ears, eyes closed, screaming into the street and get run over by traffic – is it God’s fault? No. How long have I been avoiding resting in the shadow of God out of fear that I will miss some ”pleasure” of the world, or that He will ask me to do something that I don’t want? Is this even true? Hasn’t my experience of the world proved to me that there is only pain to be found? And Jesus said that His “yoke is easy and His burden is light”(Matt 11:30). When Jesus tells us in Luke 12 not to worry, but to seek His kingdom, He adds in verse 32: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” God loves me. He is not going to give me a rock when I ask for bread. I see now. I have been off the path. I am clawing my way back to the road God marked for me – the one that runs the race in His shadow. Fearless.

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