When Trouble Comes
By Katie Westenberg
I have always loved the unique picture this verse calls to mind. I think of this powerful bird with its expansive wings tucked and fluffed into a cocoon of warmth and safety. For me. Protective and fierce, yet gentle and attentive; this is exactly the refuge I desire.
But I rarely consider what might be beyond this ambient environment. The very nature of the word refuge suggests being sheltered from something and Psalm 91 does not neglect what that might be.
From the trap. Fatal and epidemic disease. Terrors of the night. Arrows that fly by day. Destruction. Plagues that stalk and ravage, in the night and throughout the day. The word pictures here are equally as vivid as the feathered nest I was just wrapped in. It is easy for me to stop at verse four and look away from this part. But the hope we need is as much here as it is in the shelter.
This is what He is protecting us from. This is what He is protecting usthrough. This is what He is protecting us in the midst of. Verse 15 tells us he will be with us in trouble. He will deliver us.
Often when trouble comes we ask God why. Why do violent crimes happen to innocent people? Why do faithful people struggle with finances, marriages, children, hope. Tucked under His wing, we like to think the dangers, all that we fear, will cease around us. But His word never promises that. He promises us safety, Himself, in and amidst it all.
This psalm opens with a firm and fervent declaration. “The one who lives under the protection of the Most High, dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say concerning the Lord, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust…” (Psalm 91:1-2)
In trouble or at peace, the psalmist is making a bold and stubborn declaration. When we make the Lord our dwelling place (v. 9) his shelter through horrifying trouble is our hope. He is our hope.
May we not confuse the two. Trouble will come, but so will refuge for those have set their hearts on Christ. He will give His angels charge over thee and answer when we call. We were never promised a life without hardship, a life with out very real terrors and danger, but we are promised His presence with us, the security of His refuge around us.
We need not fear when trouble comes, or despair the horrors around us when we set our hearts firmly on the hope of His shelter, His deliverance, though it all.
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