I’m on vacation. I mean, I have work to do (well, if you call playing a show work), but right now I’m on vacation. Yesterday I took a drive up to Greenville, South Carolina to hang out with my good friend Berkley before my show in Clemson. It’s a gorgeous day in downtown Greenville. The sun is out. It’s a perfect 70 degrees. I just had coffee. My level of stress is about a 2. Glorious, wonderful, amazing day.
I have a tendency to fill my time up when I’m on vacation, though. I often miss out on the gifts of silence offered to me throughout the day. It takes a lot of work to access these moments sometimes. Berkley took me to this little place called “Spill the Beans” in downtown Greenville. I’m currently overlooking a park and hear a waterfall rushing behind me. It’s crazy how much this place reminds me of Riverfront Park in Spokane. So here I sit…spillin’ my beans.
God is so gracious.
Right now I have the incredible opportunity to examine some things, having eliminated the stress of my job for the next ten days. I find that I put stress upon myself for stuff I really don’t need to worry about. Personal things, future things, things that don’t have anything to do with right now…except for how I’m handling them. Which, as I write, I’m thinking maybe this is the test…
I struggle to remain in the place of peace…that place where I know God is fully in control and I let go of my control. I know these things in my head. I read the words of scripture and have seen that peace in action. However, to live in it daily, poses a constant challenge for me. In no way do I feel like I’m in a horrible place. In fact, I’m kind of gushing with joy and excitement in many things. Regarding ministry and the like, I have every confidence that God will direct me exactly where He wants me. So why, in other things, don’t I get it? When it comes to relationships and money, I’m faith-illiterate.
About an hour ago, I asked God what He wanted me to read today. The first thought in my mind was Psalm 91. It’s a passage many of us know. Reading through, I remembered the goodness of the Lord and His protection. However, the second time over, that first verse stood out like a neon sign:
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Ps 91:1
I found myself asking, what does this even mean? – God is so good to answer.
If you follow this blog, you know I get a little geeky about word studies. I love languages and I feel that English misses so much of the beautiful pictures writers of the Bible intended to paint. What would the Mona Lisa be without examining that ever so interesting, slight smile of her’s? Anyway, I dove into my concordance (app) and began to dissect this verse.
The ‘ol KJV says it like this: He that dwelleth in the secret place…shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
To avoid sending you straight into boredom with this blog, I won’t go into the meaning of each Hebrew word, but I encourage everyone do something like this. Beginning with the word dwelleth, God began painting a picture of a home. The core of this word conveys a sense of establishment. It also has implications of marriage. Interesting. This one word carries such weight in reference to communion with the Lord. Buying a house, entering into a marriage contract is commitment. A home, of course may not last forever, but it’s the idea that this is a place you will return to over and over again. A place of settling; a place to remain.
The Hebrew word for secret is one which describes elements of protection, closeness, of hiding oneself.
What is it to “dwell in the secret place?”
These two words together immediately created an image of a married couple. For me, the psalmist isn’t talking about a relationship in which you just go to dinner and put on a good face. This is a relationship that outsiders wouldn’t even understand. I saw myself whispering in the ear of God and saw Him whispering back in mine. Whispers are close and secret. They are meant to communicate things that maybe not everyone needs to know, or things that very few would even understand. Often very close couples have inside jokes and laugh about moments that leave the general group looking around at each other in confusion.
Dwelling in the secret place is intimate living with God. It’s creating that sense of home on earth…as our spirit longs for a home beyond this world. Dwelling in the secret place is about as close as we can get.
“Abide in the Shadow” really evokes this idea of permanent protection and security.
When we take the time to get close with God…and I mean reeeeeally close…amazing things happen. He starts to reveal secrets of His heart, maybe even the plan for our lives. However, relationships can’t be one-sided. We must do the same with Him. It’s coming to that point where I’m not afraid to tell Him my biggest dreams, my secret fears, my mistakes and triumphs. It’s asking Him questions…discovering who He is and the infinite intricacies of His character. I’m not married, but I’m pretty sure this kind of intentional discovery is what makes it amazing. The more we want to know about Him, the more He wants to share with us.
Then life becomes a team activity, rather than something you must conquer alone.
With this, He offers that security of His protection in all things. When we get to know His heart, He will let us know when something is dangerous, or when we should be patient, or when He wants us to move forward. It’s incredible.
The more I start to see God as my Father and the more I look at Jesus as a wonderful husband, the more I want to know Him. This kind of intimacy is beautiful and safe. I want to spend the rest of my life with this guy. Amazing news: I get to and so can you.