There comes a season in life for many of us when everything seems to come to a screeching halt.
Walls are closing in.
Pain and/or depression come knocking.
Anxiety asserts itself as a daily companion.
You even lose track of time. Maybe you’re so keenly aware of your life’s condition that time isn’t moving fast enough.
And to top it all off, shame loudly proclaims to you daily that “You are a Christian and God is good, SO PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER!”
What do we do in these seasons…months…years of things not going quite how we had hoped? What do we do when the Lord has allowed tough circumstances to burst our life bubbles? I’d like to suggest we look up.
Psalm 91 verse 1 says He who dwells [lives in, SETTLES] in the shelter, the secret, private space of the Most High, would abide [accept, act in accordance] in His shadow. But shadows are dark, and the Lord is not full of darkness. He is consistently good. The dictionary says a shadow is a dark shape produced by a body coming between rays of light, and a surface. The sarcastic Rishona interprets that as “So You’re standing between me and some good Summertime Sun. Lord could you just move over…a little bit? This is getting depressing. Why in the WORLD would I WANT to be okay with being in Your shadow? It’s dark out here. I can’t see anything…I’m losing my way…where’s all my stuff? All my friends?” Have you ever felt that way? Then keep reading.
In scripture the Lord is likened unto an Eagle, a symbol of strength and protection towards His people. So if the Father’s shadow is right over me, that must mean He’s pretty near! Let’s be real, shadows can be scary if you don’t know who it belongs to. In literal terms, it may seem as if darkness is enveloping you, and everything wrong that could happen is all happening at once! Your job, school, passions, relationships…everything or anything that seemed clear as day is all of a sudden falling apart! But wait! This is no ordinary shadow! Verse 2 goes onto share that the Psalmist immediately recognizes the Lord as refuge and fortress, someone “…in whom I trust” (verse 2). Verse 4 goes on to say “…and under His wings you will find REFUGE“. Not fear, not judgement, not hate or condemnation or “I told you so”.
The Psalmist tells us that if we live with God in His intimate space, we would be able to discern that His shadow precedes His presence.
Shortly after such a revelation, as verse 5-16 proclaims, we can BOLDLY trust that no matter how it looks, He has a plan. Every detail of your life is under the eyesight of a Sovereign God. What may seem like darkness enveloping us can very well be the ever nearing presence of our Lord making an arrival in our lives, in a new way.
He’s approaching you with intention.
It may benefit us to ask, “Father, how may I abide in You, in this situation/season?” Let’s not forget, the system is rigged us, Saints! ALL things are working together for them who are loved and called by the Lord (Romans 8:28). Rain or sunshine, its working for YOU.
To make it through our tough moments, we MUST dwell, so that we can abide. We must stay close to the Father and fight that fleshly instinct to run and create our own safe places (i.e food, fun, and frolicking. Yes I said frolicking). Then our hearts can open up, and our eyes will see things His way, and say “Lord, your will be done. Show me how I can work WITH you in this. Help me to learn the lessons you are no doubt infusing into these struggles”. Facing each day becomes easier and easier as you allow the Lord to take your burdens into His own hands.
If you struggle with trusting the Lord, guess what? It’s okay. Often times He will teach you, through the necessity of dependency, that He is trustworthy. You have to be willing to take the first step and:
- Dwell: Live with Him. Breathe with Him. Spend time learning about who He is in His word. Lay down on your bed and just talk to Him. Open your bible and write your own songs to the Lord. Ask questions. Carve out intentional moments of prayer. Lean on, cry, and be desperately honest with Him so that you can be willing and able to
- Abide: come to a place where you willingly AGREE, accept, and work with HIS work in you. You won’t resort to escapism when His shadow makes an appearance, running from a God who only ever has good intentions towards you (Jeremiah 29:11).
So don’t run from the Presence of the Lord in your tough seasons. Don’t let bitterness, disappointment and regret overtake you in a vulnerable place. Don’t run to sin, friends, men/women, to numb the pain. Undoubtedly the testing of your faith produces perseverance and patience if you LET IT (James 1:2-4).
Let us stop BLAMING the Father for our mishaps. Newsflash: life is tough. And the Lord will use the lemons of life to create a huge feast for His children. He’ll let your mistakes teach you valuable priceless lessons that you will one day be grateful for. He’ll turn your dry seasons into a testimony and strategy for someone else. The fact that He’s on your side means it WILL change. There is hope now, and later in Eternity. His bird’s eye view has a perspective we can’t begin to understand, and His actions are always unselfish. Unlike ours.
Stop blaming YOURSELF. Your heavenly Father loves you, and wants to help you through it all. That’s all that matters.
So it looks bad, and you’re knocked down. But somewhere over you is the Lord, doing surgery.
Breaking down the crooked and rebuilding the steady.
Removing dead weight and preparing for glory.
Taking off rings of cheap gold and refining it for quality.
Making the necessary spaces and demolishing idols.
So be the bride, and abide.
“The Lord hides us under the shadow of His wings, and sometimes its only dark because He’s so near”. -Bill Johnson