“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1
I’m not sure how it started, but I remember how it ended – In complete exhaustion with a tear-filled cry for help.
My quest to live a holy, God-centered, productive life left me self-righteous, self-centered, and striving for recognition and appreciation. It wasn’t pretty, and neither was I. I was short-tempered, frazzled, and longing for less – Chasing shadows I could never catch.
Our 120 pound Rhodesian Ridgeback is very much the same. Every Spring the swallows invade our front yard to roost in the trees and bird boxes. They dive-bomb anything that comes within a 10 foot radius of their nest and hatchlings. It’s our dog’s favorite time of year. He stands under a bird box in mid-afternoon when the sun towers above the driveway and casts a perfect swallow shadow. It doesn’t take long before one or more swallows emerge to scare him away, and he chases their shadow until he simply can’t anymore. He tires, gives up, and crashes to an abrupt halt on the grass only to start the feat again the next day.
It’s a valiant effort for a lost cause.
While the swallow flies overhead, the dog’s eyes are focused on the ground. He never looks up. Ever. He has no idea what he’s chasing and will never find rest catching it.
The same is true for us, isn’t it? We scramble, tire, and fall to the ground exhausted trying to catch what we can’t see. We suffer from fear, anxiety, and lack of self-worth without knowing and submitting to what’s overhead.
Eyes focused on the earth instead of the heavens will see the shadow, but not the One who casts it.
Unlike the swallows, the shadow God casts is constant. Almighty. Sovereign. Unwavering. Unshifting (James 1:17). We can rest under it because we are assured of it. The author of Psalm 91 found this to be true, and by His grace, I did too.
So how do we find rest in the shadow of the Almighty?
- Dwell in the shelter. Spend time – REAL time in the presence of our Savior. Praise Him in the morning before reaching for the phone. Tell Him of His goodness. Confess transgression. Cry out to Him in need, then wait patiently for His response. Resting in the shadow begins in relationship. The word dwell reads as abide or live in some translations, and shelter is referred to as the secret place in the ASV (American Standard Version). To paraphrase, the psalmist is telling us to live with God in the secret places. Close the door and spend time with Him. Know Him alone before you know Him with others.
- Understand His Word. My life changed when I began studying and understanding the Bible. It takes effort and commitment, but is worth every last bit of it. When we seek to understand the Truth in His infallible Word, we understand His power, control, and sovereignty. We see His great faithfulness and trust it.
- Spend time with others who find their rest in Him. Being around a woman who truly knows God and understands His Word brings peace. Her restfulness resonates. I found some of these restful women in the middle of my shadow-chasing. They breathed the lovingkindness of Jesus and modeled how to dwell in His shelter. They were calm. They challenged me to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance before committing to things and helped me trust His timing and sovereignty. They prayed for me, worshiped alongside me, read scripture with me. They showed me what it looked like to walk with Him and make Him my refuge. They became my shadow-sisters, and I’m forever grateful for them.
I want to dwell where I can rest. In His shelter and under His shadow.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.
Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one.
Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.