Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by. Psalm 57:1
“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 36:7
“Let me abide in your tent forever, Find refuge under the shelter of your wings.” Psalm 61:4
How easy it is for me to forget where my refuge and strength comes from when life seems overwhelming. Right now, between the isolation from COVID-19, the horrendous fires in the western United States, the flooding from consecutive hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, the unbreathable air due to the fires, and the seemingly unsurmountable divisions within our country the above picture reflects my spirit. Maybe it reflects yours as well.
Talking recently with some friends via Zoom the heaviness of their spirits was palpable. One lamented that just as we were starting to meet again with friends outside the smoke in the air drove us back indoors again. Another spoke of the tragedy of the devasting fires through the west and how the magnitude of people’s losses is unfathomable. We talked about how now we are hearing that it’s possible that life won’t get back to any semblance of ‘normal’ until the end of 2021. By then what we are living today will be our normal. How will we adjust to ‘being in the world’ again?
That is where the blessing of faith and scripture comes into play for me, and perhaps for you as well. It is in times like these that snippets of scripture come flooding into the darkness of my mood and my mind. “In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge”. “How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” “Let me abide in your tent forever.” “[Let me] find refuge under the shelter of your wings”. These are just a few of the scriptures that portrays God as the mother bird sheltering and protecting her children.
This mother bird image, this image of our God, brings to mind so much more than just shelter in a storm. Mother birds also feed their children nourishing their bodies and souls. She teaches her children the ways of the world, leading them out into the unknown, preparing them for life on their own.
This is an image of our God. Sheltering us, feeding us, nurturing us, teaching us, shoving us out of the nest when the time is right. Yet never abandoning us.
When the devastation of our beautiful lands, when the destruction of so many people’s lives and livelihoods, when the divisions between people seems insurmountable, when the isolation from family and friends seems utterly unbearable, when my spirit feels like the bedraggled chick at the top of the page, I’m thankful that my mind can recall this beautiful biblical image of a mothering God.
This mothering God calls me to her to rest. She invites me to lay down my burdens, my sorrows, my struggles, my failures, my griefs and come under her outstretched wing. She welcomes me to rest in her soft, warm feathers, safe from the storms raging outside. She welcomes you too.
Even a brief time spent under that wing, safe within that shelter, refreshes me enough to go back out into the world to do whatever God is calling me to do. God is calling you as well to be the heart, the hands, the feet, and the love of God to those around you.
Join me under God’s outstretched wings for some respite so that you too can be refreshed for whatever God is calling you to do.
Let us pray...
Mothering God help us to not forget that you are always there, your wings always welcoming, to give us respite from the storms raging around us. Remind us that even a short time spent nestled in your warmth and love will be enough to strengthen us for what lies ahead in the days and weeks to come. Teach us to regularly come to you for rest and renewal. And thank you for being patient with us when we forget. Amen