Several years ago, in fact during our last major transitional life phase that took us away from a beloved church back home to California, almost 8 years ago, my husband and I went through an intensive study and self-examination process called Sonship. We did the studies and then had weekly discussions and prayer times over the phone with a counselor. It was just what God knew we needed at that time in our lives. And ironically (humanly speaking… divinely speaking, it wasn’t ironic at all, merely providential) we started that study before we knew we would be going through that major transitional phase in our life. There were many wonderfully transformational moments throughout that study which, because of our move and life situation (unemployed and living with our two little boys at my parent’s house), took us approximately 8 months longer than it is generally supposed to take. But one thing that I remember most clearly probably is something our counselor told me to do as I expressed my concerns about what God was doing with us.
He said, “Nancy, get under the promises.”
“Okay. Explain….” I said.
“Don’t worry about the fact that you haven’t been able to manage a regular formal Bible study time right now. Don’t beat yourself up for not being disciplined enough to manage that. Just get under the promises.” And he sent me to the Psalms.
I have remembered his instruction to this day. And today, or I should say tonight as it is currently 12:07 a.m., I am feeling the strong need to get under the promises as I am stressing out about several things from how much I have left to pack and how much I dread doing it every day, how sad I am to say goodbye to so many dear, dear friends, how God will direct and provide for us once we are back in California, how emotionally and physically exhausted I am, whether or not all of the necessary paperwork will come in on time for our departure, whether the house sale will close as planned on the day it is set to, how my kids are going to keep doing school through all of this, how our marriage will hold up through all of the stress and challenges that we are facing and will face… among other things. How can I combat all of these swirling feelings in any other way than getting under the promises?
The promises are more than a blanket to comfort me. More than a band aid to make me feel all better. More than a roof over my head to make me feel protected. They are all of those things, yes. But they are so much more. They are wings like that of a mother hen over her chicks. And that is where I am. In the shadow of His wings.
Some of the promises I am getting under tonight are these…
I Peter 5:7 cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Psalm 42:5-6a Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Jeremiah 29:11 “…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Matthew 28:20b And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
And perhaps my favorite one of all…
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
I do not want to be one that He could say this to, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”
No. I want to say this, “Psalm 63:7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.” I SING. I don’t just hover or cower. I don’t just hide there quaking. I SING even as He rejoices over me with loud singing!
But the shadow of His wings… where is that really? Where else, but in the shadow of his outstretched arms on the cross. That is where I am hiding myself. The place where I can sing. In the shadow of the wings of the Almighty son of God who endured all things for my sake and yours that He might be able to gather us to Himself.