“When I think of you as I lie on my bed,
I meditate on you during the night watches
because you are my helper;
I will rejoice in the shadow of your wings.
I will follow close to you;
your right hand holds on to me.”
It is no secret that going through life on earth, on this side of eternity, brings a multitude of heartaches, pains, challenges, and traumas. No one is exempt from hardship, and if you are in a time of lightheartedness and ease, you can still easily think back to a time when you were struggling and expect more troubles to come in the future. This, by no means, is meant to come across as depressing or looking through life without the lens of our hope in Jesus. And I think it’s important and even beautiful for followers of Jesus, especially, to acknowledge the pain and suffering that’s still in this world. In fact, Jesus even promises and assures His followers that they will experience suffering in this world (John 16:33).
I know what you’re probably thinking, “Whitnee, this is supposed to be encouraging. What is this?” Wait, my friend, I’m still getting to the really good part.
I have a question for you. Have you ever gotten to intimately witness the great, abounding love of Jesus in the midst of deep hardship or suffering? If you can read John 11:32-35 and imagine the look of deep love, compassion, and pain in Jesus’s eyes as He had this conversation with Mary, as she grieved the loss of her brother, Lazarus, it is likely that you have witnessed it. My friend, I’m here to tell you that if you’ve never witnessed this love and compassion that our Beloved Jesus has for the broken-hearted in the middle of their pain, you are in for such an astounding surprise when you invite Him into that place to let Him love you like that!
This is what it means to be in the shadow of His wings, as Psalm 63 talks about. In this place, He holds and comforts His beloved children like no one else can. The word that Psalm 63 uses for when we are in the shadow of His wings is “rejoice.” How can this be? If His wings are meant as a place of protection, strength, and comfort, then that means they come to shelter and protect us in times of suffering and pain. But who rejoices when they experience suffering and pain? The children of God do. Because it is in this place of such deep vulnerability and intimacy that we get to lock eyes with Jesus, as Mary did as she mourned over Lazarus, and see such an astounding, soul-rattling love and compassion that only comes from Him. This is how we can consider it a great joy when we experience trials, as James 1:2 says, because the loving touch of Jesus gives us no other response but rejoicing.
My friend, if all of this sounds so foreign to you, my prayer for you today is that you would allow Jesus to blow your mind with His overwhelming love, in the deep places of your pain. Because, speaking from experience, there is nothing that can ever be compared to this love. I pray that you would choose to follow close to Him, allowing His right hand to hold you (Psalm 63:8). There is nothing that is more healing than the gentle, holistic, loving touch of Jesus.
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