He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Psalm 91:1-4).
As the world deals with the novel coronavirus pandemic, we hear a lot of talk about sheltering in place. This means, in essence, to seek safety where you are. The term is often used to refer to mandates to stay at home in order to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. Psalm 91 has become one of the most read and quoted verses in this season. In light of our present circumstances, the words take on new meaning, deeper significance, and greater relevance.
For those of us who are in Christ, these words assure us that we are not alone. However, these difficult days may also provide us the opportunity to demonstrate the overwhelming love and compassion of Christ. Now is not the time to stand in judgment, but to unite with other believers in prayer that this global crisis may cause those who do not know Christ to seek shelter under his wings.
Wings are symbolic of the protective covering and care of the Almighty God. Most notably, the wings of an eagle come to mind when one reads this passage. Eagle’s wings are known for their massive strength as well as their protective power. Eagles defend their young and provide for them by soaring over obstacles and finding a strategic location to spot food. In the Old Testament, eagles' wings represent the strength and covenant love of God toward his people (Exodus 19:4).
We can only weather the COVID 19 storm if we seek shelter in the proper place. Seeking physical shelter is necessary and vitally important; however, the safest shelter is under the protective wings of the Almighty God, whose grace is sufficient to sustain us until the storm passes by. In Psalm 57: 1-3 David reminds us that in times like these, our confidence must be in the love and mercy of God, our deliverer.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.
I will cry out to God Most High,
To God who performs all things for me.
He shall send from heaven and save me;
He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. Selah
God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.
This Psalm reflects the proper attitude for believers during these days of uncertainty and the feelings of unrest they may bring. We must trust that God is merciful and pray for his protection and guidance. David vows to cry out to God and wait for his salvation (v. 2-3). Since we are fighting an unseen enemy, it is futile to rely on our own strength or wisdom. It is only as we continually and completely release our anxieties to God and hope in his mercy (Psalm 33:18) that we will discover that God is not only with us, he is for us.
Though we may not understand COVID 19 and its devastating consequences, we can be certain that God not only understands but that he has a purpose for everything that happens. Because we do not have the mind of God and his ways are beyond our comprehension, we may not see how any of this can bring glory to God. Let me assure you, somehow it will. We must not lose heart, nor turn back. Times like this will either strengthen our faith or reveal its true character.
Despite the uncertainty of days that lie ahead, we can rest in the knowledge that God is Sovereign and that he is in control. Though the coronavirus is invisible to the human eye, God sees all. He knows all. He knows how to protect us as we shelter in place. Take shelter under the wings of the Almighty. Our security is found in a deep, abiding relationship with him. This is not a shallow, crisis-driven relationship, but one that existed before the crisis came and is sustained by faith in God and trust in his love and providential care.