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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bubble-wrap me, God!

I saw a post by someone on Facebook this morning.  The statement was simple, but definitely worth the "repost":  "I know ONE person who will never give up on me . . . GOD!"  There are always going to be times when we find ourselves thinking everyone has given up on us, or that we want to give up on everyone else!  When we feel like giving up, we are simply at the end of our resources, aren't we?  We are exhausted by the fight, worn down by the demands, or simply frustrated with the seemingly impossible odds.  David reminds us there are more "options" than to give up:

Let all who run to you for protection always sing joyful songs.  Provide shelter for those who truly love you and let them rejoice.  Our Lord, you bless those who live right, and you shield them with your kindness.  (Psalm 5:11-12 CEV)

First, and foremost, we need to "run to God" when we are in the spot of feeling like it is time to give up.  Whether we need "bolstering" for the continued battle, or just need to finally put down what we have been holding so tightly to, God's arms are the RIGHT place to be.  To run into the arms of God for "protection" is the SAFEST place to be.  Think about it a little - - - when we are facing insurmountable odds, don't we want someone to protect us from the very thing we see as insurmountable?  When we are holding onto stuff we have been instructed to put down, don't we need something to "fill the space" where this "stuff" has been stored?

David tells us to run to Jesus - for protection.  I think of all kinds of "protective" things I have in my life.  I have a silicone sleeve on my smartphone - not because it looks good, but because I may drop it!  I have car insurance - not because I like supporting the insurance company, but because I don't drive these streets alone!  I wear shoes each day, not because I enjoy having my tootsies enclosed in leather, but because the Arizona sun makes the sidewalk hot enough to cook an egg!  Protection is the preservation from injury or harm.  Some of the things we have / use for protection are to protect us from injury - others are to protect us from harm.  Injury suggests something we might have happen to us because of how we respond to a situation or in a particular circumstance.  Harm is something which might catch us unaware - like a tornado out of nowhere.

David says we will experience something of encouragement and uplifting when we run to God for protection.  When faced with harm - run to him.  When needing to avoid injury - run to him.  What we often find ourselves doing is running to others - not sure why this is, but it is a fact.  We run to what we find comfort in rather than running to the one who provides a "covering" for us.  The word "protection" comes from the Latin protectionem - a covering over.  Take this a step further, and you will find the root word protegere which suggests placing a cover in front.  God's protection is not a hiding place - but a place of shielded covering.  It is a place where we can take refuge - still seeing the battle clearly, but being out of the line of fire.

I stated earlier, God's arms are the RIGHT and SAFEST place to be.  Shielded covering makes them the safest place to be.  Uplifting encouragement makes them the right place!  As I am writing this, I am listening to the words of a song which simply say, "Let faith arise!"  In the arms of Jesus, we find our faith "on the rise".  We have a chance to "refill".  It is in his arms we pour out our hearts, share our fears, and find the faithfulness of God in managing the disasters of our lives.  

There are other forms of "protection" we might find ourselves using in life.  Things like words to "protect" us from being found out.  We use words to mask where we really are emotionally, spiritually, or physically.  Ever had anyone ask you, "How are you?" and found yourself answering, "Fine, thank you, and you?"  It is likely you are asked this each day, by multiple people!  How many times are you honest?  Probably not many!  In fact, if someone ever stopped me long enough when I asked this of them to actually "tell" me how they really were, I'd be so caught off-guard!  

We use projects to occupy our time and attention, so we won't have to face the hard reality of the real issues we are facing - things like broken relationships, feelings of loneliness, or despair.  We "protect" ourselves by insulating ourselves within a huge "wall" of busy-ness.  

The problem with all of our "shields" of protection - they "mask", but they don't really "shield" us from harm or injury.  Only the arms of Jesus are capable of truly "shielding" us.   Just sayin....