Shelter in the Shadow of the King | March 20th, 2020
I had just finished working for the day. As I was driving home, I remembered we were running a bit low on food at the house. So, I did what I normally did. I stopped by my local grocery store.
When I walked in, it was like stepping into a different world. I began observing what looked like sheer panic around me. People were moving as fast as their legs could take them, frantically pushing their carts up and down the aisles to fill them with whatever was left on the sparsely stocked shelves.
As I rolled my cart into the toilet paper aisle, my jaw dropped. It was completely bare. Not a single roll in sight.
I thought, What on earth is going on? Is it really this bad that we have to start living like the world is about to end?
Apparently, yes. This new virus called “corona” is causing crazy havoc all around us. The world seems to be slowly shutting down as shocking news hits the airwaves every hour of every day.
Last week, it was the cancelation of traditional parades, annual conferences, concerts, and sporting events. Next, it was the stock market taking a sharp nosedive. Then, our beloved places of worship, favorite shops, and dining establishments in our communities began to close, one after the other. Now, our offices are shut down and most everyone has no other choice but to work from home as we have been asked to “shelter in place.”
This new coronavirus is highly contagious, fatal for many, and must be stopped by keeping large groups of people from gathering. Now, even groups as small as 10 are frowned upon as our government leaders are doing everything they can to keep the virus from spreading.
Hardest for me is not being able to be with my friends for their birthday celebrations, share encouraging conversation over a cup of coffee, or even exchange a hug. All of that is a part of the very recent past which now feels like “the good ol’ days.”
It is definitely a different world right now.
The Meaning of “Corona”
Interestingly, the word “corona” is Latin for crown. The virions, which are the infectious virus particles made up of either DNA or RNA wrapped inside of a protein coat, give the appearance of a crown when the virus is examined under an electron microscope.
After I learned about its meaning, I strangely felt an immediate sense of peace within me as I began to ponder what the crown represents.
Who is in full control on the throne right now amidst all of this chaos? It is certainly not fear or panic. God reminds us over and over in Scripture to “fear not.” He never intended for us to spend our days and nights filled with anxiety and worry. But He knew we would struggle with it, so it is written over 300 times in the Bible to remind us that we do not need to be afraid of anything!
The One reigning on the throne over the heavens and the earth and everything in it is God, our powerful and mighty King. He is the only one worthy of wearing the crown.
He knows everything that is happening in our frenzied world right now. Every scary detail. Even though it feels as if the world is completely out of control, we know it is all in His hands. We can have full confidence that He will never leave us to unravel this twisted chaos on our own. In His perfect time, He will bring order to the confusion.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
God Has Our Attention
Think about how much attention the word “corona” is getting right now. You can’t turn on the news without hearing it over and over.
How long has God been waiting for our attention to be focused on Him? Right now, during these frantic and uncertain times, people who may never give Him a single moment of their day or even acknowledge that He exists are beginning to give God their attention. Those who are apathetic in their faith, living a life that includes God only when it’s convenient, are now giving Him a bit more attention.
It’s unfortunate it has taken an unprecedented global pandemic for God to get our attention, but He certainly has it now, across the entire globe. We no longer have the distractions of entertainment, shopping, parties, travel, or even eating and drinking with friends. God definitely has our attention!
Focus on the Eternal
Rather than fixating on the doom and gloom around us (which is so very depressing), we can take advantage of this perfect opportunity in the quiet of our homes to spend time focused on our loving King and all that is eternal for a much brighter perspective.
For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18
There are many ways you can focus on what is eternal or “unseen” instead of on what you are seeing around you as temporal chaos. Start by developing new daily habits that will bring you closer to God. He loves you so much and greatly desires for you to have an intimate relationship with Him. Without all of the distractions right now, what a perfect time to begin!
Daily Habits for Peace and Calm
Here are a few ways for you to experience peace and calm in your day while bringing you closer to God:
- Read a Psalm. They include beautiful songs of praise and worship to God and prayers for His forgiveness and protection.
God’s reign as King is a central theme throughout the book of Psalms:
For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations. Psalm 22:28
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103:19
- Break the verses into small parts and slowly meditate on them. What is God telling you as you read His Word? Take time to be still, listening to Him speaking to your spirit.
Soak in each sentence as you read Psalm 91:1-2:
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. Psalm 91:1-2
Close your eyes and envision being sheltered in the shadow of the Almighty, snuggled safely under the protection of His power and presence. That is where you are able to find perfect rest because you can completely trust Him to take care of you no matter what you are going through. Declare out loud that He alone is your refuge and your place of safety.
- Journal a prayer that expresses your feelings to God. Are you afraid or anxious? Tell Him how you feel by pouring out your heart to Him. He wants you to be authentic! Trust Him to be all you need to handle whatever you are experiencing right now and to release the grip that fear may be having on your thoughts and emotions. Be sure to journal how He answers your prayers as well.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4
- Journal a prayer of thanksgiving to God, fixing your thoughts on His goodness in your life. What specifically are you thankful for? Make a list in your journal that you can refer back to when you need reminding of all of your blessings.
There are so many things for which you can give Him praise. You should never run out of praises as long as you live! As you are giving Him thanks, it will help to take your mind off of your troubles and give you peace.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
God is Sovereign
God has the ability to do anything He pleases. He has no limits. He is sovereign. This means everything is under His complete control. There is nothing that happens in the world that is outside of God’s authority. It is His sovereignty that makes Him superior to all other gods. He is the King of kings and the only One worthy of our worship!
“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17
You can feel most secure in Him because He is your all-powerful, all-knowing Creator and rules over His people in love. Because God is sovereign and deeply cares for you, nothing will ever come into your life that He does not allow.
We may never understand why God has allowed this microscopic virus to cause such huge upheaval in our world but because He is sovereign, nothing occurs anywhere in the universe without His permission. He has the power and knowledge to have prevented it if that was His will but for whatever reason, He has permitted it to happen for His higher purposes and eternal plan.
Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! Romans 11:33
Until we are uncomfortable or desperate, we often won’t ask God to be involved in any part of our lives because we don’t think we need Him. We seem to be doing just fine on our own. He longs for us to long after Him and if it takes a catastrophic virus to get our attention, He will allow it for our eternal good.
This life is only temporary. It is the next life that’s most important because it is there that we will spend eternity.
In John 17:3, Jesus describes eternal life as knowing the only true God:
And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.
To know God is not simply having a casual familiarity with who He is but rather, a very close, intimate relationship with Him. Begin those daily habits now while you indefinitely shelter in place by spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer.
To know God is to understand your need of Jesus Christ as your Savior, to trust in Him, to love Him with your whole heart, and to live your life for Him in perfect peace as you shelter in the eternal safety of the shadow of your Almighty King.
Eternal life is knowing God…the One who is sovereign, in full control on the throne this very moment, wearing the magnificent crown of victory over fear and death so you could one day reign with Him in glory forever and ever!
Sparkler #1: Prayer
If you are feeling afraid or anxious, pour out your heart to God. He understands everything you are going through. When you stay focused on Him, He will give you perfect peace.
Sparkler #2: Action
Take time for your relationship with God, getting to know Him intimately by spending time meditating on His Word and in prayer, journaling your praises, prayer requests, and His answers to your prayers.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
When you find yourself focusing on the temporal chaos in the world, fix your thoughts and attention on your powerful, loving, and sovereign King who is in complete control of all things.
*Coronavirus – photo credit: unsplash
*Crown – photo credit: pixabay
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