Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Title: Under His wings
By: Dorothy Teoh
Recently, a friend who was having a minor sore throat from eating too much fried and spicy food commented that we would not have noticed things like these prior to Covid-19, but suddenly, they have become an issue. I know how that feels. Last month, a friend and I arranged to meet up for lunch with some other friends; an event that I had been looking forward to after months of little social interaction.
I was feeling particularly warm that morning. Normally, I would just have put it down to the hot weather. But a few days before that, I had gone for a meeting with someone who was not wearing a mask in the car and who had coughed several times during the ride.
I could not find my digital thermometer so before my friend picked me up, I walked out to the guardhouse at my condo and asked the guard to take my temperature, not once but twice. Both times were normal. But maybe I was asymptomatic! My friend came along and I got into the car, still worried. After travelling less than a kilometre, I called our other friend, cancelled the lunch appointment and asked the friend who was driving to send me home.
Once home, I went to bed – in the middle of the day – and was sure that I would awaken with a sore throat, a symptom of Covid-19. That didn’t happen, but the experience led me to turn to Psalm 91.
With its references to “deadly pestilence” and “plague”, Psalm 91 could have been written for the times we live in. I want to focus on just the first four verses.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
The Psalm is not a magic incantation that gives us immunity against illness or adversity. But it reassured me and freed me from irrational fear because it speaks of God’s protection over those He loves, and those who love and trust Him. Verses 1 and 2 speak of a God who is not just pre-eminent, majestic and all-powerful, but one who is personal and who cares for us. They also speak of God’s sovereignty over our lives and that nothing can touch us without His say-so.
It may not be the fear of Covid-19 but another situation that threatens to overwhelm us. Are we dwelling in our own fears or self-doubt or in the shelter of the Most High? I think of a child walking beside his or her parent and trying to match his/her own small steps to the parent’s strides to keep in the parent’s shadow. The child is secure because he/she is holding onto the parent and is shielded from the scorching sun. In fact, the imagery in verse 4 is of the warm and intimate protectiveness of a faithful mother bird.
This is the God in whom the Psalmist trusts, the same God who is our refuge and our fortress even as the pandemic continues to rage around us and uncertainties and fears abound.
Abba Father, thank you for loving us and protecting us on a daily basis, not just from Covid-19 but from all harm. But we also know that bad things do happen even to those who love you. When they do, help us to be able to say as the Psalmist does, “You are my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust”. Help us to hold fast to you, in good times and bad, in joy and in sorrow. in sickness and in health. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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