There were over 4500 people in the room. Plus me. I didn’t know anyone there except Jesus. That was my plan – drive two hours to be alone with Him in a crowd. Kari Jobe led worship and Christine Caine brought the word and all of that was very enticing, but really, I was there to meet with Jesus. It’s true, I could have met with Him anywhere, without even leaving my house. But sometimes, there’s just something about the going to Him that matters to me. It was the shaking off the heaviness, getting up and going that I needed.
The music was great. Christine Caine was on fire, which was also great. I was a weepy, weepy mess. As I sat in my third row, aisle seat, with an empty seat beside me (best case scenario for this introvert), I met with Jesus. And while I cried really hard, He listened as I told Him how tired I was. How sad I am that I keep looking back at my life and wondering where it went. How scared I get sometimes when I think about the future. I told Him that I just really didn’t like me all that much and that makes me sad too, and what if I never get to see my grandchildren grow up and what if I never get the book finished and what if all these scared, sad feelings never go away and I don’t know why I feel so very overwhelmed. And tired.
(Realizing that you just threw up all over Jesus is embarrassing, even if you’re the only one who noticed.)
And then Ms. Caine came back out to give her message, which finally gave God an opportunity to talk. He reminded me of His faithfulness to me, and that nothing was too hard for Him. There really are no “what if’s” in my life, because His plans are sure and they are good and they will not change. And then this came. It was God even though it sounded like Christine Caine.
And something in me grabbed that statement and won’t let go. There is an appointed time for everything in my life, and that time belongs to God alone. And in His appointed time promises are kept, barren women give birth, prophesies are fulfilled, and life comes out of the tomb. And at the appointed time, there will be a coming. Jesus will come for His Bride, and the end of sin and sorrow will come.
It was good for me to get up and go to meet with Jesus alone with 4500 strangers. God spoke, my faith was stirred and my perspective shifted. But it wasn’t finished.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:1-2
I’m not sure when I came out of His shadow, or what caused it. Maybe it was the stress at work. Or my sister’s brain cancer diagnosis and the fact that I’m too far away to walk the journey with her. It could have been the sifting through old memories while trying to write a book that was hard to live and is proving hard to write. Or wondering where I will work when my job ends in August. Or the mountain of weight I need to lose if I’m going to stay alive. Maybe it was all of the stuff of life that should have sent me diving head first for that shadow, but instead I let it draw me away.
Away from His shadow is all striving and wandering and weariness. I stepped out of the shadow of God and into places of fear and doubt and ‘what if’ questions that suck the life out of me.
My feet may be unsteady and my head may be down, but I am heading for the shadow of God. I will rest there and He will cover me. In the nearness of God, in His very shadow, I will live, fight, love and be loved. I will dwell, I will rest, and I will rise.
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. – Psalm 73:28