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Emmanuel Church, Plymouth
in partnership with
St Paul's, Efford
Tony's Reflection 11
Were you raised in the town or the countryside?
Many of us city dwellers need to rely on the likes of David Attenborough for insights into nature! Country dwellers, though, have much more first-hand experience of the wonders of nature.
Have you ever seen a mother bird, a hen perhaps, protecting her chicks? She stretches her wing out over them and they are totally safe. The penetrating rain and the freezing wind cannot touch them, under the warmth and shelter of the mother's wing. Little chicks on their own are easily picked off by predators, but under the mother's wing, they cannot even be seen.
The Bible sometimes uses touching and daring images of God. In our precious promise for today, Psalm 91 compares him to a mother hen!
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; (Psalm 91:4)
Isn't it touching, that this picture of motherly tenderness and protection is applied to God?
What image do you have of God? Many people see him as strict and stern. Others see him as a father, but one specialising in tough love. Here, though, we see his nurturing side.
Perhaps you have seen a mother bird sheltering her chicks in real life. Maybe you have only watched it on TV. You have probably seen it from the outside, so to speak, looking down on the mother bird.
Try to imagine how it must feel from the chick's viewpoint. What would the baby bird see or feel?
It would feel the warmth of its mother close by. It would hardly be aware of the threatening world outside.
Have you experienced that wonderful sense of protection from God, as you have gone into your “secret place” to meet him? This isn't something just for the "spiritually sensitive". It is a promise for all of us who live in that secret place.
God’s heart for you as you come into that secret place is for you to know his closeness to you. His tenderness towards you. His protection over you.
In the moment of shelter, the chick’s world is totally filled with the warmth, closeness and protection of its mother. As you draw near God in your secret place, may your heart be filled with a deep awareness of his presence and protection.
The fears and stresses of this world won’t always totally disappear, in that moment of shelter. They will, though, seem much smaller, as your mind is filled with the assurance of God’s tender-hearted protection over you.
You will know a peace, which will guard your mind against all fear, anxiety and stress.
This promise isn’t just about giving you a peaceful warm feeling inside, though. Many things can do that. You could get the same from a good cup of coffee!
It is about the reality of you encountering God. Personto person. What kind of God is waiting to meet with you? One who longs to draw you close to him. One who yearns to cover you with his mighty wings. One who wants you to depend on him for strength and safety.
Many have realised during this Covid 19 outbreak, just how frail and fragile we humans are. Forgetting coronavirus, even the most resilient and strong of us will one day disappear like the mown grass. Human life is here today and gone tomorrow.
Recognise your fragility and take your place under God’s wing.
Under God’s wing is where we were made to be.
Have you found your place there?