What if the safest place were a person?
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
- Psalm 91:1
I used to think the safest place in the world was the hallway.
I grew up in West Tennessee where springtime often brought violent storms. Sometimes those storms produced tornadoes, and we always listened for a change in the wind. My childhood memories are punctuated with nights my parents pulled me from bed and lined me up next to my siblings in the hallway while the tornado sirens blared outside. I can think of at least three occasions when massive tornadoes leveled parts of our city, resulting in loss of life. Even now, as an adult with young children, I think of the tiny bathroom in the centermost point of our house as the safest geographical place I can think of.
We all have places where we feel safe.
For some it’s the house we grew up in or the classroom where that favorite teacher demonstrated care for us. For some, the safest place is simply any location that’s not the place where they’ve been hurt.
In Psalm 91, we’re directed to the safest place of all. The psalmist writes, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Now, as a child I might have read a verse like this and clutched it as a promise that God wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me if I prayed for His protection. I’d have recited it like a talisman against those notorious spring storms. And plenty of times as an adult, I’ve wished I could guarantee that the Lord would deliver me from a particular situation or protect my children from any kind of suffering. Whether my kids wake up from scary storms or fear getting in a car accident, whether they come home from school with hurt feelings or symptoms of a serious illness, I want to give them something that will comfort their hearts with the Lord’s protection.
But the truth is, I can’t guarantee their physical safety. I can’t promise them that God won’t allow suffering to pass through their lives. In fact, according to the New Testament writers, I can actually guarantee that they will suffer. So, how does running to the Lord for safety help us when we know it’s not always physical safety He provides?
The comfort lies in heart safety. Eternal safety. Soul safety that is rooted in the finished work of Christ on the cross. What far outlasts our physical lives on earth are our eternal ones. And the knowledge of eternal safety should bring us the greatest comfort of all.
The safest place isn’t a physical location that we can hide in from every fear and foe.
The safest place is a person—it’s the Lord. He is the safest place. And I think that’s what the psalmist is saying in Psalm 91:1. Because God is the Creator of all things, He is the one we turn to when we are afraid. We find comfort in the fact that He has made a way for us to dwell with Him—both now as we live on earth and later when we are with Him forever in heaven.
In sending Jesus to die for our sins and reconcile us to Himself, God has made a way for sinful man to dwell in His holy presence—to dwell in His shelter. Jesus’s resurrection secured for us an eternal inheritance in heaven and was sealed with the gift of the Spirit. Every believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them—what an amazing way to rest in the safety of the Most High! When you take refuge in the Lord for your salvation, your soul is eternally safe! That rest far outweighs and outlasts the afflictions and fears we face here on earth.
Like many of us, I’ve wrestled with much fear during the global pandemic and civil unrest in the U.S. We’ve always lived in a world corrupted by sin and brokenness, but lately we’ve felt the weight of that sin and brokenness, maybe more than ever. Perhaps we’re more aware of it now. We long to see things set right, for justice to roll down like a stream, for the sick to be made well. In a world of upheaval, it seems like there’s no safe place to run. But there is.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” As we read Scripture with a gospel lens, we can know that whoever lives in the safety provided by God through faith in Jesus for salvation will find eternal rest in the presence of God. He is our safest place.
What place makes you feel safe?
How can you practically start making Jesus your safe place?
Glenna Marshall is this month's guest blogger.
Glenna has a story to tell. She is a mom, a pastor's wife, an author, and a speaker, among other things. Her journey has been beautiful, but isn't without suffering and periods of long waiting. God has used those difficult seasons to reveal her need for him and his faithful presence in her life.