I Am Hidden In Christ

Hidden Under His Wings

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!” … He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you make seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. Psalm 91:1,4

I grew up in a big city, and it took moving to a bush village in West Africa to familiarize me with chickens.  They were suddenly a huge part of my life – always pecking around underfoot, crowing before the sun even thought about rising, getting all suicidal by running in front of my truck.  African friends gave me dozens.  Poultry was the accepted “thank you” gift, even if all I was being thanked for was a visit and a nice, long chat.

Mostly, I just endured my new feathered annoyances … I mean friends.  But, the one thing I loved about them was watching a mother hen with her fluffy little brood of chicks.  At night, she’d snuggle them down under her wings.  They’d disappear – hidden under her body.  How safe and secure those little ones were. Nothing was going to get them that didn’t go through Mother Hen first.

I loved watching that because of these verses.  Finally, I could picture it – God, snuggling me under His wings, protecting me from predators that would love to dine on my downy weakness.  God, hiding me in his vastness.

That isn’t to say that physical harm won’t assail me.  Jesus made it clear that often, following Him will bring us into danger.  But, those perils can only destroy my body.  My soul, the true me, is safely hidden with God, whether I dwell on Earth or in Heaven.

And Satan’s firey darts, the doubts and fears and faith-snatchers he hurls at me?  If I stay hidden under God’s wings, those things can’t hurt me.

My God is a shield and bulwark for me.  How thankful I am to be hidden in Him.

I am secure

I am Secure: Safe in His Providential Care

time in hand“But as for me, I trust in you, oh Lord… My times are in your hands.”

~Psalm 31:14-15a, NASB

This little nugget of beauty is stuck in the middle of a lament. The verse before ends with “they scheme to take away my life.”

Some wonder how one can live with hope when they are surrounded by despair. Here is the anchor, the hand-hold on truth:  My times are in God’s hands. And this God is mighty in power, gentle in spirit, loving at heart and good in all He does. Though thunder rolls and waves crash and fires blaze all around, my life is kept secure in the immutable hand of God. Things may not make sense from where I stand, but His plan is sure and will not be thwarted.

I often listen to Alistair Begg while I’m on the elliptical at our local YMCA, and this week I went through his series called “my times are in your hands,” which came straight from Psalm 31. I loved what he had to say about this verse, this security.

“I am not trapped in the grip of blind force.”

In other words, my life is not shackled to an ambivalent fate. My life, my everyday living and doing; my past, my present and my future is held fast by the very hands of creation.

I am secure

I am Secure in the Storm

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on a rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded the house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded the house, and it collapsed, and its collapse was great!” Matt. 7:24-27 HCS

My husband and I took our baby and fled the civil war in the West African country we loved. All the doctors left the bush country, too, and looters stripped the pharmacies. Then, an epidemic hit our village. The illness, undiagnosed and incurable without modern medicine, killed dozens of children, including the 4-year-old daughter of my best friend, Clarice.

“See?” another African woman told her. “Your Christian faith didn’t save your daughter. The ancestors are punishing you for not worshipping them anymore.”
Clarice straightened her back. “God’s word says the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. Many children of non-Christians died, too. I will not desert my God.”

In her deluge, Clarice was secure.

How can I say that? Her daughter died. Her country was at war. The answer: Clarice was secure in Jesus—not in anything on this earth. She was a woman who truly knew who she was in Christ.

There is a myth in Christianity, I think, that says something like, “If I follow God, he’ll give me a safe, happy, secure life.” But in Matthew 7, Christ made it clear that trials will storm down on us whether we follow Him or not. Jobs will be lost. Relationships will end. Tornados will tear up towns. And civil wars will take 4-year-olds away from their mothers.

Jesus did not promise secure circumstances. He promised a secure foundation – Himself. If we build our lives on Jesus, constructing them with obedience to his commands, when the trials come – and they will – we will stand, secure in the storm. But, if we build our lives on anything else, those same troubles will crush us. I so need to remember this right now, during a difficult season in my own life.

“Blessed is a man who endures trials, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him” James 1:12 HCS

I sure hope I get to attend the awards ceremony in heaven when Clarice’s receives hers.

I am secure

I am Secure: A Joint Post

 

“My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of my hand” ~John 10:27-28 HCS

From Susan

My husband, Steve, carrying two porcupines but no warthog, walked back to the village outpost, which was nothing more than a couple of mud huts and a watering hole.  He and his West African hunting buddies sank into bamboo chairs in the shade under a rice-sack lean-to.  They’d have to wait until evening to try again.  The conversation died down, and a few of the men drifted off to sleep.

Steve was awake, though, when two flocks of sheep arrived at the watering hole from two different directions, each led by a Fulani man carrying a shepherd’s stick across his shoulders.  Sheep from both flocks melded together in one bleating, thirsty mass.  The shepherds spread out their mats under a mango tree and brewed tea over a little fire while the animals drank and milled around.

About an hour later, one of the shepherds stood to leave.  He didn’t even glance at the sheep.  He just took out a tin can and beat a rhythm on it as he walked away.Fulani Shepherd

Half the sheep scrambled, pushed and even climbed over others in a frantic effort to follow him.  The shepherd chose a path next to Steve’s lean-to, and the sheep, many running to catch up, did too.

The other half of the sheep? They just hung out at the watering hole, unfazed.  Their shepherd still sat beneath the tree.

From Jen

As Christians, we may mingle and blend with another flock, but the sheep who belong to the Savior follow His voice. In Him we have safety. In Him we have everything we need.

Sheep need the care of the shepherd. Left to their own, they overgraze their food source, and have a tendency to get themselves in difficult, life-threatening situations. They simply need the overseeing protection of one who is wiser and who can meet the needs they are unable to meet on their own.

No wonder God often uses the image of a shepherd and his sheep. Left to our own, we take the good in front of us and misuse it to our destruction, we let ‘blessings’ over come us until we cannot stand under the weight of it all, and we love to see how far we can stretch the boundaries until we find ourselves in difficult, sometimes life-threatening situations.

We need His care. His protection.

Security comes from the shepherd. He tends His flock with wisdom and love. He leads us to green pastures and guides us to calm waters. He meets every one of our needs.

And all I need to do? Simply follow His voice.