He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
(Psalm 91:4-6, NIV)
A friend posted a question on a social network thread that asked, “What are your demons and what images do they bring to mind?” It was a good question that spurred quite the conversation. Many answered with their particular “demons” first and then some followed later with word pictures that helped express their thoughts. Near the end of the thread, I told the story of the image in my mind based on my brother’s loss of his son Michael just before he was to be born. It’s a mixed image of despair, a broken world, and a hope for the future. And it is very vivid indeed even some thirteen years later. All this got me thinking that a blog post was in order, so, here we are.
How do we express the images of the things that grip our souls, both good and bad? How do we process those fears, those demons that would try to claw at us, pull us down, and tell us we aren’t worth the effort? Where can we turn when our common case of “terminal humanity” rears its ugly head and tries to tell us lies about our self-worth? With these questions (and many others) swirling about my head, God brought to my mind this passage by the Psalmist. And that little phrase of encouragement - “You will not fear the terror of the night” - seemed to jump out at me.
Our fears of inadequacy, our self-doubt, and the destructive self-talk that so often comes over us do not have to define who we are. As a member of the Community of the Redeemed, this little promise God makes that is recorded in the 91st Psalm is there for us as well. We have been granted shelter in God’s arms and He will protect us from the “terror of night” and all the other dark things that haunt us. We may not have them completely eliminated from our minds, but we do have a place of retreat that promises protection.
The Crooked Path passes through some pretty shadowy places. When it does, and that dark terror tries to grip me, I can rest assured that my Father is watching and will welcome me into His resting place so that I can deal with the terror and defeat it - all because He has already defeated the source of the terror for me. That’s a pretty comforting thought.