Reflection can be a dangerous activity, one that allows our mind to travel where we did not intend to go. Thus was the case with me one recent morning. It was my first day back on the track in about a month. A temporary detour down a path of lesser resistance brought this epiphany; the easier path was not producing the same results as the path of greater sacrifice. Running on a marked track provides distance indicators which facilitate strategy and goal setting. Whereas running in my unmarked neighborhood provided no such indicators. Without progress markers it was so much easier to just quit and go home when I grew weary versus pressing on towards my goal.
While contemplating this literal situation my mind wondered to a parallel spiritual conundrum. Our pastor had been speaking on the “dwelling place.” The perspective of this dwelling place is new to me and honestly, I am still chewing on its meaning. Having grown up in church my mind is full of religious hogwash; platitudes that have no scriptural basis. Trying to understand the true meaning of scripture, separated from the interpretation we have been fed is often difficult. Psalm 91:4 says, “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” ESV What does it mean to have refuge? Does it mean we are safe from all harm? I always thought so and yet have spent much time frustrated over my perceived understanding of scripture versus the reality my life. Where was that refuge when my son was stillborn? When my husband lost his job? When my car was totaled in a hit and run? When my marriage was on the brink of disaster? When we faced financial ruin?
While my husband and I were contemplating this new perspective of the dwelling place, slow acceptance dawned as we realized; we really do not know exactly what the dwelling place means. As I found myself fretting over a situation that I had no control over I’d stop and say, “Wait a minute. If I am in the dwelling place, safe in your shelter, This is not my problem, it is yours God.” Somehow, though, letting go just seems weak to me. Shouldn’t I be taking some course of action? Not necessarily.
The Lord gave me an amazing vision of the dwelling place. Visualize being on the open water, in the midst of a storm. Ideally, we would like the dwelling place to be inside the boat. That is not the picture I got. In my vision I’m not in the boat, I am clinging desperately onto the side of the boat. Waves are crashing all around me. Jesus is in the boat, and he is hanging onto me. I look into the fiercest yet calmest eyes I’ve ever seen. My mind churns; I want nothing more than to throw my body into the boat. “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, please let me back in the boat. Why am I in the raging seas while you are in the boat?” His quiet response, “Not now, this is for My glory.” This revelation causes my eyes to water. Though I will not always understand why, it is enough to know that whatever my circumstances, I traverse them for His glory. If my discomfort brings honor to his name, is enough for me.