even the LORD, who is my refuge-
then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
- Psalm 91:9-12
If you asked me what my greatest fear is, I would not know how to answer - and it's not because I am fearless. In fact, it is not difficult to make me uneasy. As a young child, I lost sleep over movies like Honey I Shrunk The Kids that others found harmless. To this day, I cannot watch TV shows or movies that contain suspenseful music or screaming characters. I admit that I do not understand the Lost phenomenon; just hearing that show from another room bothers me. And even a few minutes of watching shows that flash through crime scenes and cruel acts haunt me with disturbing images.
For some, it's easy to brush off the horrors of Hollywood with the thought that, "It's not real." Maybe I identify too much with the characters, so their trials seem as real as if they were my own. Or maybe I remember that even if the murder or rape or terrorist act on the movie is scripted, such violent crimes are committed in real life everyday, and they are not the good and lovely things that my Lord would have me dwell on. People really do contract deadly illnesses, lose loved ones, and suffer at the hands of others, but the frequency of such events does not make them any less painful for those who are afflicted. It seems that slowly and subtly, "entertainment" has built up a tolerance in most Americans for the sin and suffering that plagues this fallen world. But 1 Thessalonians 5:22 tells us to avoid every kind of evil, and I believe that applies to our choices in entertainment. I do not like to think about evil things, and I certainly do not want to be plagued with images of wickedness when I am alone in the dark.
As Don and I pursue purchasing a single family home - and one that is surrounded by woods - we are considering my safety in being home with the children while he is at work. Should we get a big dog, an alarm system, or a shotgun for my protection? Or is locking the door enough to keep harm at bay? In our worries and actions, we have to find the balance between guarding our family from potential evil and acting out of fear. It think it's easier for my husband - he fears nothing except the wrath of God. For a petite young woman like me, the world can be a scarier place. And while I know that God is watching over me, I also know that I am not immune to the effects of sin. There is no guarantee that I will never find myself in a frightening or dangerous situation. My guarantee, it seems, is simply that I will never be there alone.
I was thinking over this subject as I contemplated this week's "In Other Words" hosted at Writing Canvas. The passage from Psalms above is a timely reminder for me that God is a protector whom I can trust. Beyond a secure home with fences and deadbolts, I need to make the Most High my constant dwelling place. When I am dwelling with Him, His Word says that no harm will befall me. He even commands His angels to guard me and hold me in their hands. How many times, when my mind has wandered to the thoughts of all that could go wrong - car accidents, robbery, injury, and so on - has the Lord been sending angels to protect me? These guardians are more than the gold Cupid-shaped birthstone pin I wore when I was ten. Real angels, powerful heavenly beings, are at the disposal of the Most High. If He sends them to protect me, they go. I need not fear disaster, for the Lord says it will not come near my tent. And if a cloth tent can be secure, surely the Lord will protect me inside walls of wood and Sheetrock.
At bedtime tonight, I turned to the comforting words of "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" in our treasured hymnal. The lyrics of the third verse, especially, stood out to reassure me that so long as the Lord is my refuge, I need fear no evil. His everlasting arms will hold me in this dark, distressing world, and lead me safely into eternal life, where there will be nothing left to fear.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.