Today is the 4th of July, Independence Day in America.
This morning I was having mixed feelings about it.
I was out in the garden pulling weeds. It was nice and quiet at first, with shade from a nearby tree making it pleasant, even though the thermometer said it was 88º F already when I went outside.
Then I started hearing an occasional bang; I assume it was someone practicing shooting fireworks. But in the last couple of years I’ve been hearing such sounds at odd times of the year and of the day or night.
It’s been strange, because I had never before lived in a place where people fire shots so nearby that I can hear them.
So, this morning something in me wanted to cringe instead of celebrating.
God has definitely been testing my faith in the last couple of years. You know, it seemed so much easier before to trust and overcome fear, when the trials were similar to or easier than those through which I had already passed.
But as those really difficult trials fade away, farther and farther on the distant horizon of the past, the new trials that fall into the realm of the completely unknown for me, place in me a fear which I have not immediately known how to overcome.
My first reaction has been to try to figure it out, to lean on my own understanding (why?? since I don’t understand…) instead of bringing the problem to the Lord and leaning on Him who understands all and has solutions for everything.
And over and over He has reminded me that I am to lean on Him.
I can’t control this problem or that one.
But He can.
I can’t solve these problems or those.
But He can.
So, this morning in the garden, I found myself moving closer and closer to the edge of the garden, trying to stay in the shade, until the shade from the tree was no longer where I needed it to be.
Then, just as I was starting to feel the unbearable heat of the sun, a cloud covered the sun, bringing instant, cooling shade, and the welcome words of the Lord pushed into my consciousness:
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1
I think in the past, I have thought of dwelling in the Lord more in the terms of safety, and that is definitely something I needed to be reminded of this morning. But I don’t know if I’ve ever considered before that His shadow could block out the heat of the spiritual war that rages against my soul.
But it can!
Approaching His gracious Presence in faith can so quickly and easily change the climate of my spirit and bring me comfort.
Fear and unbelief are banished, and peace and joy remain as I dwell in His loving arms.
Dwell and abide are the special words I chose at the beginning of this year as my goal to pursue, and the Lord has reminded me again of just how much I have been failing to dwell in Him, how easily I am distracted from bringing every thought captive before Him, and how much progress I still need to make toward abiding in Him.
He knows that I remember better when He paints me a picture. So, I thank Him for this morning’s picture of the cloud covering the sun, and of how instantaneously the heat was banished.
Thank You, Lord, that I can trust You in every situation, even the new ones that I have never faced before. I need training in some of them to know how to proceed, but You do not need to be trained in new situations. Who would train You anyway??? You are God! All true wisdom comes from You! No one is as wise as You! No difficulty that comes across my path will ever take You by surprise or have You wringing Your hands in despair. You are my true Shelter, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Guide. I can run to You and be safe. Help me to dwell close to Your heart in reverence and faith and obedience to You all the time. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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