Rest in the Shadows

By: Carole Lynne Haines

There is such a comforting familiarity to the view outside my front window. It is a large picture window, and I am able to watch the sunrise from it most mornings. Some of them have been absolutely stunning, as pictured above. Just a hint of light spreads across the horizon, starkly contrasting the silhouette of trees in the foreground. Slowly the colors fade in and on days where there is a call for rain, the color is breathtaking. It is end of winter here and the buds are just beginning to emerge. Daffodils dance in the gusty March winds. And yes, this month does seem to have come in like a lion but is fading to a lamb as the days go by. Last night heralded the strange cultural keeping of Daylight Savings Time. We sprang forward one hour. It’s such a strange little ritual of Spring and Autumn, to mess with the strings of time, and my own sleep patterns to boot. But it’s still a comforting little herald of Spring for me, like the return of the geese, the robins, and other South dwelling birds. Today’s Scripture speaks of a shelter of rest, a refuge found only in God.

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 NIV)

This is such a familiar passage to me and yet when I read it this morning, I discovered a truth there I hadn’t seen before. God’s Word is truly powerful, it is transformative in every phrase, every pen stroke, every nuance. I hadn’t moved past that first verse before The Holy Spirit halted my reading with a new truth. If we choose to dwell in God’s shelter, then when those inevitable shadows come into our lives, we will still find rest in His shadows. His Shadow brings comfort from the sometimes-frightening shadows of our own lives. If we put in the time alone with Him that our hearts crave, choosing to abide in Jesus, then when those dark times come into our lives, we will actually be able to rest in God’s almighty care.
We will yield, instead of worry, rest instead of scheming, simply breathe instead of panicking.

God is trustworthy and faithful and as we develop the practice of abiding in Him, not only will we produce much fruit, but we will be able to rest as Jesus did in the back of the boat during a raging storm that had his disciples frantic with fear (Matthew 8:23-27). The word ‘dwell’ in Psalm 91 means to “sit down, abide, stay, remain, inhabit.”
The meaning here in Hebrew is very similar the meaning of the word ‘abide’ that Jesus used is John 15.

Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  (John 15: 9 NASB)

The word ‘rest’ in Psalm 91 means “to pass the night, lodge, rest, stay permanently.” I sense so strongly that the Lord is reminding me to spend a lot of time with Him, nurturing our relationship, getting to know Him personally, as my God but also as my closest friend and companion. This will soothe the panic and anxiety when fear begins to rise up in me with the sudden and unexpected changes life inevitably brings. He pressed into my spirit that these are His shadows, nothing touches me that is not first filtered through His hand. There are no random acts life just throws at me. He is completely in control. So, to abide with Him by spending much time with Him enables my Soul to rest when life feels out of control, like a raging storm all around me.

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 NIV)

O beloved Children of the Most High God, believers in Jesus Christ, those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells through belief in the One and Only Savior, abide in Him. Dwell in the shelter of His presence. And when those scary shadows stretch across your life, you will be able to rest in His care knowing that they are His shadows. They are Shadows of the Almighty.

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