He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. Psalm 91:4-8
The image of a Father covering and protecting His children—like a mother bird protecting her chicks—is beautiful and instructive. Because of the Lord’s covering, the psalmist declares that we don’t need to be afraid in the midst of things like darkness, arrows, pestilence, and plague. He promises, “It will not come near you!”
But…there’s just one problem…those things do touch God’s children and many have died from them. So, how do we reconcile this passage with our obvious reality? First, I think it’s important to establish a base line: every one of God’s children dies. God never promises to keep us from physical death. In fact, He says the death of His children is precious in His sight, because it is simply a transition to the rest of eternal life! Don’t get me wrong, God does protect and defend His own! But when trials and even death come our way, it is very different for those who trust in the Lord. It does not “come near,” in that it does not shake them or damage their spiritual core.
I’ve witnessed the supernatural joy of godly people in the midst of horrible circumstances, and it is truly amazing. No denial, but also, no fear. Their peace is strong because they are not alone and they know the best is yet to come.
For reflection: What does it look like to trust God for protection vs. relying on other forms of security? How are you doing in this regard? When you do have to walk through difficult circumstances, how is your “peace quotient”?
Lord, I trust You to care for me and I thank You for Your protection. Help me to recognize that You sometimes protect me in difficult circumstances rather than from them. Thank You that I never have to walk alone. As long as You are with me, it truly is “well with my soul.”