Once, I got to take a real vacation.
My husband and I spent a week in Mexico at an amazing resort, sans kids. It was our only luxury vacation, and it was lovely, every minute.
Cancun is located in the Yucatan Peninsula where the fragility and toughness of the Mayan coastline enthralls.
Salt and freshwater meet in clandestine fashion beneath the land. Tangling roots of the Banyan trees create a magical coastline, not of land nor of water, but of living trees, providing protection, food and life for so many waterfowl and climbing monkeys alike.
We visited an eco-park nearby where giant sea turtles, dolphins and coral-reef fish thrived.
There was a tropical butterfly house and a team of researchers that studied those miraculous insects. We could watch dozens of chrysalis in various stages of metamorphosis while they hung tenuously in protective terrariums. The cases of each chrysalis were semi-transparent and revealed somewhat the changes taking place, while they were taking place!
The observer could see, with naked eye, the wings forming, or the eye and legs coming into place, but we could not begin to know the “how” behind it all.
All this tumultuous change in silent habitation.
God gives us that same truth in Psalm 91:9
For you have made the Lord my refuge, even the Most High your dwelling place.
The psalm in its entirety speaks of the dangerous activity in the throes of battle. It speaks of the Lord as a bulwark, a shelter, a shield, a refuge a fortress and protective wings.
The old, dusty King James refers to the “dwelling place” as the habitation.
A place to be and live and thrive, even in the midst of all kinds of danger, toil and snare.
The psalm speaks of arrow by day and terror by night, serpents and predators of all kind that set our feet to the path toward protection.
Sometimes, the dangers are literal predators. But figuratively, what preys upon our peace feels a lot like arrows and hungry lions. In fact, in the New Testament, Satan himself is referred to as a lion on the prowl seeking victims and the weapons of our enemy are called arrows. We are given a spiritual armor, a chrysalis if you will, in which to move about with his divine protection applied directly to our vulnerable places.
We don’t want a bulwark (a shield) or a wing or a habitat to metamorphose within. We want the cement walls, the absolute safety, the guarantee.It seems we usually seek a spiritual fortress to hide in, a safe place to cower beneath, like a bomb shelter, fully stocked and ready whenever the battle gets too fierce.
But our perspective needs refined.
When The Lord, the Most High (meaning absolute monarch) is providing the protection, he is our True Constant. He knows every danger we face and prepares the perfect form of protection.
He never forgets something that we too often neglect to understand: we are continually exposed to change, danger, life and death; And HE is our safe place.
He is our:
And so much more.
Because The I AM of old is the I AM of this very moment.
He cannot be anything else.
There is no change nor alteration that you undergo where he is not present and actively working on your behalf.
Verses 10 & 11 promise this:
He will give his angels charge concerning you to guard you in ALL your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands so that you don’t strike your foot against a stone. (emphasis mine)
There is a certain “Eye of the Storm” quality about the protection we find in knowing God through Christ Jesus. It’s what prompts believers to say, “I can’t imagine going through this apart from Christ”. It is the “peace that passes all understanding” mentioned in Philippians 4:7. It is what others so desperately need.
But there is also this to be considered: We have this internal battle, this course of alteration and transformation that is intensely personal and honestly, painful.
Like the fragile butterflies, we undergo a reforming of everything that we are spiritually when we accept Christ. It is a miracle that we survive! This awakening of our spirit, this indescribable touching of the Eternal God coming to dwell within our hearts and minds causes all manner of upheaval — we are, internally, a liquified bundle of change.
Paul refers to this a war within our members as battle for our salvation.
For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;
but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
And his only answer to this spiritual metamorphosis is this (verse 25) Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Our salvation is secure, our change necessary and attended to constantly by the only one we can trust. Jesus.
The One True Constant in the midst of change.
I have friends in real life and dear friends online that are going through changes that hurt,
changes that are healing,
changes that are necessary,
changes that are scary.
I want to encourage you, with these words (from Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening). Repeat them, write them down, put them someplace to be seen:
“If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord.
Let prospects be blighted, let hopes be blasted, let joy be withered; let mildew destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God.
He is “my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort.”
I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.”
Linking up with the dear ones over at Painting Prose
and with Candace here
and at Ann’s for Walk With Him Wednesday
and with Tracy for Winsome Wednesday