When we had young children and a special occasion would hover on the horizon, we would try to help them understand how close or far the event was. Sometimes we would make a paper chain, sometimes just talk often about how many days or nights or “sleeps” until the vacation or holiday arrived. For us as adults, the time often seemed to pass too quickly as we tried to hurry to get everything in place, but for the kids the time often dragged on in a seemingly interminable way.
They obsessed over the countdown and every day would check on it throughout the day, making sure no one ripped off extra links, sometimes recounting them to verify they had the right number still. I never quite understood their fixation with the links.
Then I thought about the adult preoccupation with time and age. Is it really that different?
Lord, you have been our dwelling placePsalm 90:1-4 ESV
in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!”
4 For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.
Does God view us similarly to how I viewed our children in those days? Worrying would not change the number of links. The day did not move any quicker, the specialness did not get any sweeter as they worried over the slow passing of time. And, for the adult mind, it was just wasted energy instead of enjoying the present, and preparing for the approaching event.
The Lord has the benefit of a more complete picture of our lives and eternity. Suffering or afflictions are temporary and serve a purpose. Instead of counting the days, I need to lean into Him a bit more and not be blinded by the challenge and the paper chain it creates for me.
After that reminder that puts things in perspective, we run headlong into the beauty of Psalm 91.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most HighPsalm 91:1-2 ESV
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
How often in a dark moment when I’m huddled in the corner checking if my paper chain is intact, if I’ve been forgotten, if I’ve missed a memo, do I recall these verses! God is my shelter. I can trust his timing, his protection, his faithfulness, his fortitude, his perspective. I love this picture of a giant wave crashing against a lighthouse and the keeper stepping outside just long enough to remind us that he is safe and secure in the light house despite the malicious attempts of the ocean all around him.
For he will command his angels concerning youPsalm 91:11-13 ESV
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
Most (all) days I do not come in contact with anything as physically threatening as a lion or deadly snake. However, I believe applying this to the emotional protection God provides is an accurate interpretation as well. He protects my heart as he would my hands. He protects my mind as he would my feet. I realize that these verse do not promise smooth, danger-free pathways, but rather protection in the midst of the danger and pain. Shelter while the storm rages. Thank you, Lord.
Lord, continue to help me trust you more. Trust your perspective and handiwork. Trust your safety and power. Pull me out of small-thinking and into your glorious peace. Thank you for your patience as I process and continue to reset you on the throne of my heart. Thank you for the reminders that your word is so rich with that you are present and active in my life. In Jesus name, amen.