You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1
Being sheltered is often viewed as a liability. When we say someone has lived a sheltered life, it is an indication that we believed they really haven’t been living at all. The desire to play it safe has not allowed them the joy of adventure and discovery. A sheltered existence is a sure way to miss out on so many of the pleasures of life. We are equally skeptical that a life can be sheltered or protected by God. The promise that God will safeguard people who are obedient to God’s will is objectionable because of the many examples we have of bad events befalling good people. A person can be as faithful as they want, and yet they will still have to suffer all the pains and losses that accompany life.
But the biblical idea of being sheltered may be more dynamic that we tend to imagine. Shelter offers respite from the storm—it does not prevent the storm from brewing and unleashing its power and fury on the world. Shelter offers a momentary reprieve from the harsh conditions of the environment in which we live. God offers us shelter, not as a way of eliminating all harm that might befall us but as a means of letting us know that God is with us in the midst of all the trials of life. Being sheltered by God is not about living safely, it is about being afforded some respite and reprieve when one is fully engaged in the world as God desires. Being sheltered is not about living less, but living more, as indicated in the final two verses of this psalm: “Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.”
Have you been sheltered?
Lord, I do long for safekeeping. But that is not what You offer us. You ask us to fully engage the world and the people around us. You ask us to trust that if we follow Your will and way, in the end all will be well. Storms and challenges and trials may assail us, but there will be glorious moments when we experience Your saving presence. Lord, shelter me long enough today so that I am prepared for the demands of tomorrow. In Your name, I pray. AMEN.