in the shadows

SONY DSCOn Sunday I had a mini retreat. Members of our church were leading the services and it gave me the opportunity to have some time just with me and Jesus. It was a bit unorthodox. My plan was to drive out of Colchester and find somewhere quiet to sit, read, contemplate and pray. But everywhere I went there were people. It was a lovely sunny day and the roads were full of cyclists, Sunday drivers and people who had blown the cobwebs off their convertible cars. The places where I thought I would stop were already occupied.

So in the end I spent some of the day just driving, appreciating God’s countryside, and thinking. Eventually I found myself overseas. Well, on Mersea Island anyway. I found a quietish car park and settled down to read and pray. I started to read some of the sermons that Charles H Spurgeon had preached around the Communion table (the book is called ‘Till He Come’).

The second one I read was called ‘Under His shadow’ and was based on Psalm 91:1. In the King James Version that Spurgeon used it reads as:

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

The new New International Version translates the same verse as:

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

I found myself captivated by that, and Spurgeon’s reflections on that one verse were uplifting, inspiring, encouraging and challenging. I won’t rehearse them all here because I am still contemplating them for myself, but think for a moment about what the Psalmist wrote.

What does ‘the shelter (or secret place) of the Most High’ mean?

What does it mean to abide (rest) in the shadow of the Almighty?

There’s so much in these words but surely as a minimum they indicate a close proximity to God. You can’t be in his shadow if you are a long way away. You can’t be sheltered by him if you are distant from him.

If you are in need of rest or shelter I suggest the first thing to do is start with drawing closer to God. And a good place to start is where I started – take yourself off and spend some time with Jesus. He’s waiting for you…

Be blessed, be a blessing.

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