A memory came up in Facebook the other day. It was the day that I went back to work after Olivia was born. I was holding her, and torn about leaving her. She was holding my finger in the photo, something she had often done since. Things haven’t changed much. I still get a little torn when she goes off to school. Something that I learned about her is that she doesn’t know what to do when people are mean to her. She will just sit there and cry, or hold it in until she can’t take it anymore. That is what happened a couple days ago.
As a mom it is almost impossible to have experiences with your children and not relate them to your relationship with God, or His love for us. And that was the same when Olivia was struggling the other day with not wanting to go to school.
I knew something was wrong. I had a pretty good idea that someone had been mean to her. Yet no matter how many times I tried to ask about it, she wouldn’t tell me what it was until the fear of going to school became too unbearable. At this point she was clinging to my leg telling me she just wanted to be with me. A sure sign that she didn’t feel “safe” going to school.
And that is what she wanted. As the bus pulled up, she broke into hysterical tears. One last time I asked her, what happened at school that was making her not want to go that day. She blurted out through tears “someone pushed me on the playground a lot and I fell”. Later on she would tell me that it was a girl that had pushed her and when she fell, the girl just laughed at her.
She felt unsafe and unprotected going to school. But she wanted to feel safe, and protected… like she wasn’t going to get hurt.
At home she had refuge, and strength, and support. But she had something else too… as she clung to me, there was love. The love that took her home, changed her shoes, and brought her safely to school.
Deuteronomy 33:8 says “the eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are everlasting arms”.
A few years ago I had a dream that I was in the tower of a castle. It felt like a fortress, or a place of refuge even. The tower was strong, and it felt like nothing could destroy it. I was towards the top of the tower looking down, as enemies tried to break through the tower walls, and destroy my protection. But I had confidence that wasn’t going to happen.
I can often feel like Olivia. Scarred from the days gone by, terrified to move forward, and forgetting I have an unfailing Father who is my refuge, shelter, and strong tower. And I can lack the confidence I had in my dream. I can also forget what I have often found when I’ve been under God’s shelter.
What do we find under God’s protection?
I wrote about Psalm 91:1-2 last week, but if we ever wonder what we find when we abide in Him, Deuteronomy 33:27 answers that question. When we rest in the shadow of the Almighty God, we find everlasting, unshakable, and unfailing arms.
Arms have strength, and carry things. Sometimes what we have in our arms is fragile, and we have to carry it carefully. Just as sometimes God carries us when we are weak. When we are carried by God, we are not carried by weakness, but by someone who has enough power to raise His son from the grave.
What else can we find under His shelter?
When we abide in Christ, we would find what Ephesians 1 calls spiritual blessings. If I could come up with a list of spiritual blessings, it would be long. Protection, rest, grace, forgiveness, strength, redemption, kindness, goodness, peace, faithfulness, assurance, a secured place in heaven. I could add everlasting arms to that list.
My desire to protect Olivia has always been driven by love. And when I read scripture, I am continually amazed that the things God has done for us and given to us are, as well, all driven by love.
May we remember that. May we remember that under His refuge are good things done for us, and given to us out of a deep love. We are His adopted, and chosen daughters. With that title comes covering, and shelter when we are weak and in need of His everlasting arms to carry us through.