The shelter of his arms
You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path. (Psalm 91:1)
There are not a lot of places where I feel truly 'safe', nor are there many individuals I feel really 'safe' to be my 'real self' around. When I find both in one - I am beyond delighted! We all know what it is like to be around someone we don't feel 'safe' being around, knowing full well they will 'use' what they glean from our interactions together for their gain, with little regard for how we will 'fair' in the deal. There are also places we 'go' that make us feel less than 'safe' - challenging our emotional, physical, or spiritual well-being just by being there. It is good news to me that we can find both a trusted friend and a safe haven of rest in one person - God himself.
Hidden traps and deadly hazards - does this sound like any relationship you may have been in at one point or another? I think we ALL find our way into one or two of those in our lifetime - really not intending for those relationships to have that much effect on us, but coming to realize they have worn us down to the point of feeling 'used' and sometimes even 'abused'. God doesn't set traps for us - he also doesn't want us to succumb to the deadly hazards this world puts in our way. So, he is ever-vigilant to protect us from those things that will strip us of our strength, drain us of our time, and disconnect us from other healthy relationships he has given us for our well-being.
Outstretched arms that not only protect within their 'surround', but 'fend off' the attacks that come our way. If you have ever walked a trail and been hit squarely in the face by a branch, you will understand the importance of someone blazing the trail ahead of you. They 'hold back' that branch, allowing you to pass by it without making contact with it. Why? The likelihood of us noticing it is slim - we get distracted by the other things on the trail. Life puts many a distraction in our path - fending off the attacks of the things we miss in the process is part of how God protects us each and every day.
I find it absolutely comforting to read and re-read those words, "Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door." When we make him our refuge (our place of safety and security), we can be assure that EVIL won't get to us under his watchful eye. Some may ask if this is true since 'bad things' seem to happen to God's good people, but let me just remind us of one thing - evil exists all around us - but God is above ALL evil. Those things we label as 'bad' aren't always 'bad' when we go through them with him - because he has a way of taking what we label as 'bad' and making 'good' from what our enemy intended for our harm. Just sayin!