So, I tend to learn lessons in a “round about” way, either starting at multiple points and working in towards the main point, or starting at some “random” and “unrelated” place, but landing squarely “on point” at the place God is trying to get me to. And I tend to write that way as well. All that to say, “Stay with me; it will all make sense in the end.”
I recently saw a social media post that had me laughing out loud (literally), and I liked it so much I posted it on several friends pages. Little did I know that God would take this and come at me sideways with a lesson.
The story is told by a traffic cop who pulled an elderly lady over for speeding. He asked for the usual paper work: license, registration, proof of insurance. He was surprised to see, due to her (eh-hem!) advanced age, a conceal to carry permit. Upon further questioning he discovered that she had in her possession: a 45 automatic in her glove box, a 9mm Glock in her center console, and a 38 Special in her purse. So, he just HAD to ask, “What are you so afraid of?”
“She looked me right in the eye and said, ‘Not a damned thing!’ ”
Shifting gears now: I was sitting on the couch with one of my kids snuggled up next to me, securely under my arm, resting with great contentment, with my blanket over him. He, tucked securely under my arm, had that look, that smile, that says, “I am at total peace, joy, and rest.” As I was looking at him I heard a voice ask me: “What do you think he’s afraid of?” (Yes, you hear it coming): Not a blessed thing!
I sensed the Father God saying to me, “This is where I want you to be: at rest, under My Arms, with no fear, worry or stress…. Are you?”
“Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare, and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (Psalm 91:3-4)
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in You I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings, until the disaster has passed.” (Psalm 57:1)
“I long to dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.” (Psalm 61:4)
The psalmists understood, and tried to convey, the security and rest that can be found in the Almighty God. In that intimate place there is power and security like nothing else (better than a Glock!). The one who finds himself there need not fear, though all the world comes crashing down around him (cf. Psalm 91:5-8).
The question is, will we take advantage of His protection, His loving yet powerful arms? Or will we put our trust in our own self-made comforts and securities? This is grievous to the heart of God, as was expressed by Jesus: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:27)
I love to meditate on those passages of faithfulness, to discuss them with those of like faith, to sing of the Lord’s faithful promises. But I’m finding that my education upon such meditations has often failed in activation in hard situations (okay, okay; I’ll stop trying to be clever). Seriously, I think it must grieve my Father when I don’t trust Him, much like it would wound me if suddenly my son would cease to trust and rest in the knowledge that I would protect him in every way humanly possible if need be. And I wonder if the problem is not so much trusting God, as it is to STOP trusting MYSELF, my ability to “handle” the situation, or to “do better”, or… fill in the blank. In either case, the result is the same: no peace, no rest.
And so it is my desire to learn to lean into the Father’s embrace, and find in Him, rest… from my self-made labors and efforts, to trust in His ability, His strength, His love and care for me. That is, in part at least, what Jesus made possible for us, a way to become children of Father God, Who just happens to be the All-Powerful One, Who is more than able to handle any trouble that comes my way.
And much, much better than a Glock.