When I see a voicemail on my phone, fear often grips me.
I guess I’ve received one of those “I’m sorry to have to tell you this but . . .” phone calls that have turned my world upside down one too many times.
Some of these life-changing messages came as a complete shock. Others—like Dr. Koehn’s voicemail saying we needed to move my dad to hospice—were expected, but no less painful.
Even though I’ve received thousands of voicemails in my life, the few life-changing ones so often flash through my mind when I see I have a new message. Why do I get that awful feeling of dread?
I react that way because I temporarily forget that God is my shield.
Theologically, I know God is good and sovereign. Historically, I know He is working all things out for my good and His glory (Rom. 8:28). And experientially, I know that when He appoints suffering, usually it involves teaching me some important lesson (which I will at some point come to appreciate).
But more frequently than I’d like to admit, I forget that God is my shield.
What is a shield anyway? The Miriam Webster Dictionary offers a few helpful definitions: “A broad piece of defensive armor; one that protects or defends; a device that serves as a protective cover or barrier.”
I don’t have a lot of experience in using a shield. I’ve never been in a physical battle (though I’m continually involved in a spiritual one). But I’ve used different things as shields: procrastination, a critical spirit, a harsh tone, or intimidating demeanor.
We can all use “shields” of our own making, but God desires for us to turn to Him; to allow Him to be our shield. God’s Word is filled with descriptions of Him as our shield, like:
“But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” (Ps. 3:3)
“You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” (Ps. 119:114)
And this verse in particular is one I clung to this past year:
“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (Ps. 18:30)
When I fear listening to that voicemail, I must remind myself that no matter what news I receive, God is my shield. And because God is my shield . . .
- I can be assured that although I may experience loss or pain, He will be my refuge in the lonely nights.
- I know that whatever events lie in the future, they are not going to take Him by surprise or thwart His great plan.
- I can take refuge in knowing the story He’s written for me is exactly the one I need to live.
How has God been a shield to you?