A few days ago, a friend shared a photo on Facebook that I thought represented Psalm 91:4 beautifully. I shared it on the Memos From God Facebook page. I particularly like that verse in the New International Version: He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge. In my Bible a feather marks that page.
Psalm 91 is one of the most reassuring chapters in the Bible. First of all, it tells us that God who is sovereign, almighty and trustworthy will rescue us and protect us. The words are figurative and symbolic, but surely that is their message. It goes on to tell us of all the kinds of dangers from which we will be protected, and assures us that He will be there for us to save us. That all sounds excellent, but is it true? The Bible also tells us that we are guaranteed to face trouble, (John 16:33) and this Psalm doesn’t tell us that we won’t see those dangers, only that they won’t overtake us. But how do you explain the fact that faithful Christians suffer—disease, tragic circumstances, financial ruin—and sometimes die at a very young age? Where is the truth of Psalm 91 then?
Two particular circumstances come to mind—the death of several friends at too young an age, and the fact that Albert Chretien is still missing in the Nevada wilderness after seven months. How can we say that those people are protected from all the dangers in the world? Perhaps the sense of being protected as described in these verses is not the same as avoiding trying circumstances altogether. Perhaps all the trying circumstances we go through have a purpose, something to teach us. Perhaps it means that we will be rescued from them in the life to come. Perhaps we need to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, rather than just visit occasionally, in order to experience this refuge. Perhaps we just can’t imagine how awful life could possibly be without God’s protection, a protection that we actually experience without fully realizing it. John Calvin has said, “When we look back on our life from the perspective of eternity, we are going to see that the power of Satan was so great, that the weakness of our flesh was feeble, and that the hostility of the world was so strong, that every day of our lives—if God had not intervened—we would never have made it through a day.”
What I do know is this: God knows better than I do. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that His ways are not like our ways. Just as the sky is higher than the earth, so His deeds and plans are higher than ours. And His grace is sufficient. (II Corinthians 12:9) Whatever trials we have to go through, He will give us the strength to endure them. What we need to do is trust Him, and be devoted and loyal to Him. (Psalm 91:14) He will take care of the rest.
Al Chretien has not yet been found, and I would like to ask for extra prayer right now as hunters begin to enter the area for deer hunting season. This is Al's best chance of being found before winter returns.
Rita Chretien has now shared her story publicly. You can see the report here.