Debbie Salter Goodwin
Shelter in Place
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
How many weeks have we sheltered in place? A month? More? Too long!. The days run together broken by weekends that don’t offer as much change as they used to. I find myself trying to accept all the changes because I know that struggling against them will just create more stress.
But trying is not the same as accepting.
One morning as I continued my slow trek through the Psalms to write my own prayers based on one of the themes or verses from these rich affirmations, I came to Psalm 91.
The words didn’t just come close; they shouted at me.
He (or she) who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 91:1
I realized this was a message about sheltering in place. But not just any place. Not a closed-in, locked door place. Not a place you stopped wanting to spend more time in.
This is the shelter of the Most High. This shelter puts you under the roof of the heavens. This shelter borders you with a protection against the enemies of your soul. This shelter isn’t an address or a geographical location. This shelter is a Person who walks through closed doors and always comes with peace.
Sheltering here is not a restrictive place. It is a place where the soul breathes freely. It is a place where you enjoy the whole character of God in ways that settle you. It is the one place where unpeace cannot exist because God is All-Peace.
I want to live sheltered in place there, in a place where my God oversees my comings and goings or my staying put. I want to live where His shelter overwhelms any perception of restriction. I want to live intensely awake to the whole character of God so that my heart rests deeply.
I need this rest. Not just the prescribed 7-8 hours of sleep. I need the rest I can only find by living where God shelters me. Where I do not keep trying to figure out what all this unprecedented time means. Where I can know that in the middle of so much change, grief, and unsettledness; there is place of shelter, of respite, of very deep peace where I can live 24/7.
This shelter doesn’t blind me to realities; this shelter prepares me for them.
I’ve never been more aware than now that these days of sheltering in place should be used to be ready for what God says is coming next. I can’t script it. I can’t goal-set for it. I certainly can’t predict it. But I must be ready to live it. There’s the paradox.
God is the God of paradox. He can bring two completely opposite realities together in a way that brings sense and purpose to times that feel absent of both.
Perhaps I will make new address labels to remind me where I live:
#1 Almighty Shadowed Street
Shelter of the Most High
On earth as it is in Heaven
This must be my new reality because all other possible scenarios bring no peace.