Ted Ancelet, National Director of Spiritual Empowerment
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that our world can be a difficult and hostile place. The first half of this year alone has brought a deadly pandemic, wide-spread economic struggles, and nationwide unrest, pushing back on centuries of social and racial injustice. These events have directly and indirectly impacted us all. Americans report that they feel anxious, scared, and depressed, and are exhausted with the ever-changing landscape of daily life.
In light of all of this, we need more than a break; we need hope. Hope that better times lie ahead and, more importantly, hope that we’re not alone in our experiences and struggles. Both of these needs are perfectly fulfilled in God. This month, we reflect on the opening verses of Psalm 91 and find God’s promises of strength and peace in the midst of life’s storms.
Psalm 91 opens with the promise that those who “dwell in the shelter of the Most High” will find refuge from their circumstances and peace from their anxiety and fear. In these six verses, several of life’s struggles are mentioned, and we see that God is faithful through them all. The secret to experiencing his faithfulness is to dwell in his presence.
Biblically, to dwell with God is simply to center our hearts and minds on his character. To help us do this, the psalmist uses two names for God that stand out in this passage: “Most High” (Elyon) and “Almighty” (Shaddai). These names are significant because they declare and affirm God’s sovereign power and authority over all creation. Nothing is too big for him; nothing is too small. God is personal, and he is transcendent. He is intimate in how he relates to us and limitless in his dominion over the circumstances we face.
Our sense of fear often stems from a feeling of helplessness. We find ourselves in circumstances beyond our control, and we feel powerless to affect the outcome. Psalm 91 assures us that no matter what we face, God sees the situation—and most importantly he sees us! As we rest in who he is—as we dwell in his shelter—he will fill us with mental, emotional, and spiritual strength, and the courage to keep going. No matter what we face, His peace is accessible and limitless.
Take a moment and reflect on how the events of the last few months have impacted you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Read Psalm 91:1–6 again. How has God been a refuge during the last few months? How has he comforted you? How has he protected you?
Read Psalm 37:3–6. Spend time in prayer, thanking God for what he has done, and rest in his faithfulness to carry you through all you still face.
Impacting our world
Each month we highlight how our faith in Christ is motivating us at Bethany to impact our world. This month, we want to acknowledge that we can’t help others unless we are anchored in a hope greater than ourselves. We invite you to do the same. God’s love not only motivates us, it sustains us. Our strength will fail; his will not. Whether it is an anxious birth mom, a vulnerable child in distress, or someone who finds themselves in an unfamiliar new world and in desperate need of help, the Scriptures are clear—God’s strength working through us transforms lives.
Before we invite you to walk with us into tough places, we invite you to kneel with us to be filled with God’s limitless love. He’s looking for willing vessels, not perfect vessels. He has invited us to witness his power working through us. Our fears and faults do not worry him; his grace is sufficient. Together, we can not only know God’s love for ourselves but express it in tangible ways to those who need it most. CLICK HERE to join us in the adventure.
Father, thank you for your faithfulness. In the midst of our storms, your presence calms us and inspires us to take the next step, wherever you may be leading. Lord, we confess that when we look around at the pain and chaos of our world, it’s easy for us to be overwhelmed. Thank you that you do not ask us to walk in our own strength but in yours. Thank you that you meet us and love us right where we are. We ask that you continue to fill us so we may pour into others. When we’re weary, grant us strength. When we’re fearful, grant us courage. When we’re distressed, grant us peace. And finally, grant us the blessing of sharing your strength, courage, and peace with others.
In your Son’s precious name, Amen.