“Being Held,” Pastor Bri’s devotion for Wednesday, April 22.
Read Psalm 91
You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.
This week I got to hold my newborn daughter, Suzanna Gayle, in my arms for the first time. We have all experienced such moments that so simply yet so profoundly change us. What a gift those moments are. And as I held my child, I had a profound sense of being held myself. With everything I had been through over the course of a few days—an emergency C-section which had so suddenly become a life-saving procedure for me, and then not having the energy to even stand up for two days after, and so not being able to lay eyes on my newborn daughter—here I finally was, holding my child and at the same time, so aware that I was being held as a child of God.
My counselor has frequently invited me to picture myself being “held.” This practice is as simple as closing my eyes and getting in touch with a sense of the chair I am physically sitting in… how it absorbs and holds my weight. How I can relax and rest in it. The chair then becomes a metaphor for so many other things in my life. What are those things, those spaces, those moments that hold me? In which I can rest and lean on?
I have found that such imagery inevitably draws me toward a sense of God’s Spirit with me—bearing me up in the midst of whatever I face. We are in a season of life in which we need to remember what it feels like to be ‘held’ by God. It is easy to lose sight of God’s persistent presence with us, especially in the midst of daily trials… and this season of the coronavirus outbreak is filled with various daily trials for each of us. So today I invite you to take just a moment to close your eyes, settle into your chair, and rest in the sense of being held by God, as you most certainly are.
Steadfast God, you are our refuge and fortress, in whom we trust. In the midst of the trials this day has brought (pause to name those things…), help me to know your presence with me, supporting me, bearing me up, so that I may respond with compassion and faithfulness, by the power of your Spirit and as a witness to the risen Christ, in whom my life resides, Amen.
Image: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High,” ivory plaque, 9th century, from Genoels-Elderen (present-day Belgium).