Growing up, I was afraid of bad weather, and it would often cause me to have panic attacks. The roaring thunder, flashes of lightening, and whirling winds and heavy down pours of rain caused me to be anxious and afraid. I remember one night in particular, a severe storm rolled in our area with heavy winds and a steady down pour of rain along with frequent flashes of lightening. I started to worry tossing and turning in my bed I could feel that I was about to have a panic attack, so I immediately jumped out of bed and ran straight towards my parent’s room. As I approached their door I began to tippy-toe in their room and tapped on my mom’s shoulder, “Mom, I am afraid, can I sleep with you and Dad?” My loving mother embraced me and pulled me into bed between her and dad reassuring me that I was safe and that everything was going to be okay. My anxiety started to digress and I felt safe, having a peaceful assurance that the storm would eventually pass and I was going to be okay.
Feeling protected, secure and knowing that everything is going to be okay is an affirmation we all want to feel and experience in our daily lives. This is especially true, in times when uncertain circumstances and various seasons make us feel otherwise. When you lose a dear loved one. When you receive an unexpected diagnosis. When bills outweigh the number in your bank account. When a marriage is torn apart. When a natural disaster strikes leaving communities and lives broken and in despair. When an infectious virus spreads and become a worldwide pandemic and abruptly causes life to be turned upside down.
If we are all honest, we can think of a time or two when we have not felt safe and protected wondering if everything is going to be okay. David, one of the great pillars of the faith was no exception to seasons of uncertainty. However, in his questions and times of despair he found and discovered a resting place in the shadow of the Almighty, which he writes about in Psalm 91, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Ps. 91:1-2).
Take a moment and read all of Psalm 91.
The word “dwell” used in this verse actually means, “to take up permanent residence in.” The psalmist reminds us to stay in God’s presence. And not just when things are bad, or when we are on a spiritual high or just when we feel like it, but take up residence and live in the presence of God. And when we do that, the psalmist says in the latter part of verse 1, we “will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Shadows by definition are a place of protection or covering, they provide relief from the direct heat of the sun. For example, on a hot summer day at the park when the heat is beating on our backs, the shade is the place in which we run. It diminishes what we actually feel in the intensity of the heat. And the psalmist reminds us that it is the shadow of the Almighty that protects us from the intensity of the heat of the various circumstances of our lives. And what a timely reminder for us, especially in this challenging and strange time in our world, that we never walk alone and have a resting place in the shadow of the Almighty. For it is in the shadow of the Almighty where God embraces us with his perfect peace and reassures us, just like my parents reassured me, “everything is going to be okay.”
To be sure, this does not make our circumstances easier or change the reality of them. No, the pain and hurt we feel and experience is still there. When troubles are bearing down, it’s a struggle at times to keep trudging through it all. Stress, worry and anxiety can seem as stifling as the hot summer sun. And the thing is there are times, maybe unintentionally, in the difficulties of our circumstances, we might strive to survive on our own. And in doing so, we fail to remember that what we need most, God's protection and the comfort of His presence, are right in front of us, calling us to cast all of our cares upon Him.
Think about the place where you are running to find shelter? You see, the truth is that when we choose to rest in the shadow of the Almighty, “we will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday” (Ps. 91:5-6).
In verses 5-6, as quoted above, refers to the Hebrew day that had four equal parts, night (6PM-12AM), day (6AM-12PM), darkness (12AM-6AM), and midday (12 PM-6PM). All of this ultimately points to: God providing constant sovereign protection twenty-four hours a day! What comforting assurance to know!
The psalmist knew this which is why the he could say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 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. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent” (Ps. 91:9-13).
This entire chapter of Psalm 91 is filled with the goodness, power and sovereignty of God over His people. Towards the end of the psalm, the psalmist lays out reasons of why we do not have to fear when we rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Hear these promises from God: “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation” (Ps. 91:14-16).
Psalm 91's Promises from God
"I will rescue him/her..."
"I will protect him/her..."
"I will answer him/her..."
"I will be with him/her in trouble..."
"I will deliver him/her..."
“I will honor him/her…”
“I will satisfy him/her….”
“I will show him/her my salvation...”
Wow, what incredible promises for those who choose to rest in the shadow of the Almighty and trust in Him. Brothers and sisters, there is great blessings as we seek after God, and choose to trust and walk in His ways. We may never fully know, on this side of heaven, how He has sheltered us, protected for us, provided for us and saved us.
Psalm 91 is a timely reminder that we are never alone and always under the protection of God’s sovereign hand. We may not always see it, or feel it, we might even fail to remember it’s there at times, or even wonder if God has left us in the heat of hard situations of life. But His protection and presence is real and we can trust that what God says in His word, He will always come through, because “He who has promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).
In closing, invite you to pray this psalm. In fact, this is a great psalm to pray daily, especially when your words seem to fall short. May you find rest in the shadow of the Almighty God who loves you, who is for you, and works all things together for your good and His glory! “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:2).
The following song is extremely powerful and I pray that it draws you closer to God!
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God by: Christy Nockels Click the link below to listen: