"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped."
- Psalm 28:7 NIV
When my children were small, I knew a lady who had a little girl who she continually tried to shield from mistreatment, injustice, and whatever she considered unfair treatment. This woman was herself mistreated while she was growing up, and she had never been able to forgive her tormentors. She still carried around the bitterness, resentment, and hostility that were fostered in her as a child. She remembered how powerless to help herself she felt all those years, and she vowed that her daughter would not suffer the same fate. And she was determined to spend her life wearing herself out trying to shield her daughter from everything and everyone who might wound her physically, psychologically, or emotionally. This woman was not easy to be in relationship with. She was easily offended--especially where the treatment of her daughter was concerned--and no one could possibly meet her unreasonable expectations. But the saddest part of all was that she was not helping her daughter, or doing her good. Instead, she was doing her serious harm.
Even the most perfect Parent of all, our loving God, does not choose to shield His children from all hurt and harm, even though He's the only One who could actually achieve such a goal. He knows that if He treats us like "hothouse lilies," the first cold blast of air that comes along would knock us flat, and we would never recover. Instead, the Lord says, "I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties." (Isaiah 41:10 AMP) How does He do that? By sending us out into a cold and heartless world, encouraging us to reach out to others with His love, knowing that we'll often suffer rejection, persecution, and injustice. But He doesn't send us out alone. Instead, in the same verse, the Lord promises us, "Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you." As we commit our lives to Him and follow in His paths, we will have the awesome presence of God accompanying us wherever we go, and the unshakable peace that goes along with it. His comforting words to Moses centuries ago still ring true for us today--"My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest." (Exodus 33:14 NASB)
David wrote: "The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped." (Psalm 28:7 AMP) Throughout the pages of the Bible, we are told that God wants to be our Shield, and that He will protect us from harm, as we put our wholehearted trust in Him and His Word. When the Lord does allow us to suffer hurt, He wants us to believe that He has a divine purpose for it, and that He will ultimately work it out for our good. (Romans 8:28) And He wants us to be quick to turn to Him for the comfort and healing that only He can give.
May this precious promise from God encourage you today: "Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders." (Deuteronomy 33:12 NIV)
Prayer: Lord, remind me often that You are the only One who can really shield me from harm, and that I need to put my trust in You to protect me. When You allow pain and suffering to touch my life, reveal Yourself to me in healing, comforting, and reassuring ways. Thank You for causing all things--even hurtful things--to work together for my good and Your glory!
- J. M. Farro