How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
Since God isn’t like anyone or anything else in the universe, the writers of the Bible used many analogies to explain His amazing attributes. In this psalm, David praises God for His mercy, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice (Psalm 36:5-6). The tender care God gives each of us is precious to David. He seems carried away by the greatness and goodness of the Infinite God. It seems to him that God is like an eagle protecting its eaglets under its enormous wings in the nest.
In a fallen world, bad things happen to all of us. Some Christians believe that God should protect them from any trouble, and they are devastated when they experience even relatively mild difficulties. Like a mighty eagle, God is dedicated to the growth and strength of His “eaglets,” and He uses our difficulties to help us grow stronger. In fact, struggles are stepping-stones of growth, so God wouldn’t be a loving parent if He protected us from all problems.
But consider the many difficulties we don’t experience. Every minute of every day, God protects us from all kinds of pains, from attacks by the enemy of our souls to “accidents” that we barely escape. Most of us enjoy prosperity, pleasure, and healthy far beyond anything known in earlier generations.
We live “under the shadow” of God’s mighty wings, and He protects us with His love and power, but sometimes He nudges us out of the nest so we can learn to fly.
To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.
I think it’s fair to say that most of us take for granted all the times God protects us or keeps us from harm, or keeps us healthy and provides numerous blessings. It’s usually when things aren’t going great that we question whether God has us under His wings. It’s so easy to forget the days and months and years that God has kept us, provided and protected us.
Some one has said that it’s the dark of night that helps us appreciate the rising sun. I think that it’s in the difficult times when we learn to appreciate the overwhelming goodness of God. When I look back over my life, it’s easy to remember the trials, the battles, the struggles. But when I pause for a second and really reflect about my life, I am convinced that I am truly the most blessed man on this planet. The number of times that God has answered my prayers is far more than the times when He didn’t answer with what I wanted. The times when He gave a different answer, has often resulted in me being in a better place in life. The number of times that God has sovereignly intervened and kept me from harm and danger is more than I can count. Oh, to be sure, I’ve been in a few pickles and sometimes the danger or the harm were real but I know they were still mitigated by the One who covers with His wings.
I truly believe that whatever God allows us to go through will at some point and in someway work for our good. I believe that because I know He’s a good and merciful God who loves His children.
There is no magic button to push to make bad things go away. There are no guarantees that life will always be good or great. There are no promises that we will never suffer or struggle. But there is a promise that no matter what we go through we aren’t alone for God Himself has promised that He would never leave us.
I remember when we were teaching our children to walk. I think they fell down, at least initially, more than that took steps. As we hovered over them, trying to keep them on their feet and to keep them from being hurt, we realized that they would never learn to walk unless we encouraged and let them fall occasionally, sometimes to get hurt. But as they kept trying and we kept encouraging, they mastered the art of walking. Oh, they still take a tumble now and then, but because we taught them to walk, they get back up and keep on going. God operates much in the same manner. As parents we could have picked our children up, carried them safely in our arms, but had we done so they would have never walked on their own and I can’t even begin to imagine trying to carry them now they’re grown. God doesn’t just drop us and walk away and leave us to figure this out. Instead He walks with us, letting us learn to fly. Like the mother eagle, He is always flying underneath us until we get our wings.
If you’re going through a difficult time right now, pause for a moment and look around. You will find the ever present, loving, caring Heavenly Father watching over you and holding back the full power of the storm so you can rise above it.
Dr. John Thompson