Both high and low among men find refuge
in the shadow of your wings." (Psalm 36:7, NIV)
I thought about this when I helped dress my sleepy 10-year-old earlier this week. Every once in awhile, her eyes won't open in the morning, so I pick up one body part at a time and dress her. Then, I hoist her arms around my neck while she wraps her legs around my body, and I carry her small frame into the kitchen where she eats her Reese's Puffs breakfast of champions. The eagle's wings image popped into my brain. Just as she found refuge in my arms, so I nestle in my Father's arms. She didn't want to face the day and needed me to give her some extra love. Perhaps my willingness to give her additional affection, allowing her to curl up in my arms gave her the boost she needed.
Mornings don't always materialize in this manner. Typically, I begin by sweetly and gently cajoling my daughter out of bed, sometimes with a beautiful morning song. When that doesn't move her, I resort to a firm, "Time to get up now. Let's go." After that, the threats begin with the ugly mom voice. "If you don't get moving, you'll lose dessert for 5 years and go to bed early until you're 16." However, this morning was different. And, I thought about God's arms as I wrapped my arms wholly around this little trusting person. Just like what I do with God, only He doesn't ever bark at me when I don't get up quickly enough.
Unfortunately, the day will arrive when my daughter will grow too large for me to wrap her up completely in my arms. But, God's arms are never too small. The wingspan of eagles' wings is 7 feet, almost 1 1/2 times my 5'4" body. I don't know what size Ruth was, but I do know that she found refuge in the shadow of God's wings. She left her country, her dead idols and a bleak future in Moab. While grieving the loss of her husband, she travelled to a new country with her mother-in-law of all people for the prospect of an uncertain future with a God she barely knew. She gave God her grief, and He gave her hope.
In the 35 years that I've been a Christ-follower, I've lost track of how many occasions I've buried myself in God's arms. God has sheltered me, held me, loved me through my teens, in the midst of marriage hardships, through financial challenges, in the middle of raising children. He is the One in whom I've taken refuge over and over again. Even more than I love to cuddle with, protect and shield my little girl when she can barely open her eyes to face the day, He desires to shelter me from the storms this life brings. He hopes that I'll seek refuge in Him rather than a friend, food or finances. Maybe He even longs for me to be more like Ruth, the foreigner, the former idol-worshiper.
Father, help me to find my shelter in you, just like Ruth did. She didn't cling to her past, but looked forward to a hopeful future. She took a risk and trusted You. She moved forward and didn't let fear hold her back. No matter what happens in my future, I pray that I would continue to seek refuge in You who cover me with Your wings.