The Psalms are full of this image of shelter or hiding in the shadow of God’s wings. As far back as the earliest days of the Church, the Church Fathers interpreted this idea of the “shadow of your wings” as the shadow of the cross on which Jesus stretched out his protecting arms. It is a comforting, beautiful, and powerful image, is it not? Under his wings, we can truly find shelter and refuge from the storms of the world. In his shadow, we can find hope and rest from our inner struggles. Praise him!
Under his sheltering wings we can find protection from our fears of the “terrors of the night and from the arrows that fly by day” (Ps. 91: 5). This is so because of his love for us. It is also because, in faith, we see in him the only stronghold through which we can find the strength and the courage to withstand our real or imagined fears or the attacks that come our way for believing in God in a world that is increasingly abandoning faith in him. His wings, spread wide on the cross, embrace us with a power far greater than all the real and imagined powers of this world. Praise him!
It is in this faith and with this understanding, that we can say with the Psalmist, “Let me dwell in your tent forever and hide in the shelter of your wings” (Ps. 61:5). Is this not the desire that we have in our hearts, to one day dwell in that tent with him, forever? And, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a [humble] doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked” (Ps. 84:11). Praise him!
You challenge us too, Lord, to be mindful of the suffering of others when you speak to us through the prophet Isaiah: “You are a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in distress; shelter from the rain, shade from the heat” (Is. 25:4). Because your love is a shelter, a place of refuge and rest for me, you call on me, then, to spread the shadow of your wings to all those I encounter who are suffering and in need. For your love cannot be limited, cannot be hoarded and kept to ourselves. In our gratitude we are moved to share it with all those we meet family, friend, foe, and those in need. Praise him!
Let us pray then: Lord, You hear us in our trials; strengthen us when our faith and love grow faint. You have given us your word in scripture and in Jesus, teach us to build our lives upon your Word and not on the uncertain sands and passing fancies of worldly temptations. You invite us to dwell in your tent, to settle within the shadow of your wings; refresh us, then, with your presence when we are burdened by problems and the challenges of our days. Renew our strength when we grow weak and falter in our efforts to live in accord with your law of love. Praise him! Amen.SKM: below-content placeholder