For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11, 12
My brother was a Green Beret on the front lines the whole time he served in Viet Nam. For us at home, it was a time of stress and vigil. Every day our family prayed the 91st Psalm that promises protection from so many types of danger: night terror, pestilence, lions and serpents, and even tripping on rocks. And Jack would remind his platoon that people were praying for them.
We heard tales of close calls and firsthand reports of life in a war zone. And we also heard tales of God’s faithfulness. It was a joy and relief when Jack was delivered home safely after his tour of duty.
Often we look for “second meanings” in Scripture, as described by C. S. Lewis, and are aware that the dangers we encounter daily may be of a different nature than either of the Psalms mentioned above. But these dangers can threaten us to the eternal peril of our spirits: anxiety that God is preoccupied just when we need him; sleepless nights due to all sorts of worries; the hidden presence of Covid 19; and multiple insecurities. THESE are the everyday enemies against which we most likely need protection.
Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) lived through the Black Plague and the Peasants’ Revolt spending much of her life in seclusion in a small cell (room) attached to one of the churches in Norwich. Julian, to whom many came for counseling and prayer was known for writing, “All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Even though she lived through some of England and the world’s darkest times, her trust in God’s goodness brought assurance to those who sought her wisdom.
Think of all the verses that God has provided for our encouragement in times like these: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1). …my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation (II Sam. 22:3). You are my hiding place, you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance (Ps. 32:7). Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Ps. 23:4). And then, Ephesians 6:10-18 reminds us to put on God’s armor for protection from the enemy.
No matter what our circumstance, “His divine power has given us everything we need…” (II Peter 1:3). God is faithful. “The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will do this” (I Thess. 5:24).
Father, outside you, there is no place of safety. Let us hide ourselves in you. AMEN.