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.” (Psalm 91:1-2)
How do we dwell in the shelter of the Most High?
Our dwelling is the place where we live, not a place we visit occasionally. To live in God’s shelter implies an awareness that we are surrounded on all sides by God. When we remain inside the shelter he offers us – the shelter of His love and the commands which keep us from ultimate harm – we will rest, no matter what chaos is unfolding on the other side of the walls.
We rest in the shadow of the Almighty when we realize that God is right behind us and towers above us. When the enemy comes against us, we can rest secure in the realization that when he sees God with us, he knows he is beaten.
Rest can’t happen without trust. We can trust in others, in ourselves, in money or power, but these will ultimately be found wanting. Only trusting in God will provide real and continuing rest. The test of trust is hardship – what we do and who we turn to when things look hopeless. At these times we find out whether or not we really trust God: when no answers can be found, when it’s all tunnel and no light. Trust can stand alone on a bleak landscape, defying every circumstance, bruised by not broken, giving us Someone to cling to for dear life.
In the desert of this world, we come to the shadow of the Almighty for rest as we face the unrelenting heat that threatens to sear our souls and blind our eyes. When we are standing in the shadow of the Almighty, we find ourselves in an oasis that is a balm to our parched being. The desert stretches out all around us, but we are secure in the fortress of our God and Father.
Isaiah 32: 2-4 talks about what it will be like when Jesus fully brings in the Kingdom of righteousness and justice:
Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.
Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen.
The fearful heart will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.
Several years ago, in a time of deep grief, God used these words of Scripture to inspire me with a song called “In the Shadow of the Rock.” These lyrics try to express what it means to me to be safe in the shadow of my Father as He pours out His comfort and care:
In the shadow of the Rock, in a dry and thirsty land,
There is shelter from the wind; flowing streams are close at hand.
There is refuge from the storm, and the weary one can stand.
In the shadow of the Rock, peace to hear the Lord’s command.
(Chorus) In the shadow of the Rock, in the shadow of the Rock.
Leave your worldly burdens there, in the shadow of the Rock.
In the shadow of the Rock, in the shadow of the Rock,
Finding all the heart can bear in His gentleness and care
In the shadow of the Rock.
In the shadow of the Rock, eyes will see what was not clear,
And the one who listens well will be be given skill to hear.
Minds that were not wise before will then understand and know,
Tongues that faltered then will speak blessings that will overflow.
May you rest in the shadow of Christ our Rock today and always.