Next to my bed sits a heavy golf club, a Kmart blue light special pitching wedge to be exact. It cost $12. Since I don’t own a gun, I keep it there in case someone breaks into my house and I need to pull a ninja jujitsu samurai sort of thing on them. I pity the fool, as Mr. T used to say, who breaks into my house.
However, I don’t usually lie awake at night worrying about intruders. Our neighborhood is pretty safe. And if something arises my trusty club can’t handle, then certainly ADT will do the trick.
What I really fear are the things I can’t protect myself or my family against. This week two of my close family members are undergoing second tests for cancer. Another has been without a paycheck for months. Another has been struggling with depression.
These are the things that really scare me.
Very early in the Bible God came to a man named Abram, who was later called Abraham, and gave him a special promise. The depths of comfort this promise brought to Abram, who was living in a dangerous land at the time, cannot be exaggerated. In Genesis 15:1, God told Abram,
"Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield.”
People don’t use shields too much anymore. We see them mostly in museums. But in Abram’s time, people knew how vital a good shield was. When arrows and spears rained down on an army like hail, a shield was the only thing that stood between seeing loved ones again and a burial plot.
To know that God is our shield, that He protects us, that He stands in the gap between us and what keeps us awake at night, comforts me immensely. Knowing that the God of the universe, not some piece of wood or steel surrounds me, gives me strength.
I can’t help but wonder what you’re facing right now. Marriage problems? Financial stress? Worry? Sickness? Loss of a loved one?
If so, try something.
Remove Abram’s name in Genesis 15:1 and insert yours.
Do not be afraid, _______(insert name). I am your shield.
How does that sound? “Do not be afraid Marie,” God says, “I am your shield. I’ve got your back.”
Memorize that. It’s God’s promise to you.
God’s protection makes me think of Saint Patrick. Many think Patrick was a mythical little green guy who made green beer and started St. Patty’s day. Patrick not only existed, but was one of the greatest spiritual leaders of all time.
As a young boy pirates stole Patrick from his home in Britain and took him as a slave back to Ireland. There he was cruelly treated until he escaped. Ironically, as a Christian, Patrick felt called to go back to Ireland to introduce people there to Jesus. Patrick’s mission to Ireland was wildly successful but he and his followers faced imminent danger at every turn.
What follows is a section of a poem, called, “Patrick’s Lorica.” It was custom for Patrick’s brave followers to recite this in the morning as they faced another day. Lorica is Gaelic (the original Irish language) for “breastplate.”
I arise today
with God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me
God’s wisdom to guide me
God’s eye to look ahead for me
God’s ear to hear for me
God’s word to speak for me
God’s hand to defend me
God’s way to lie before me
God’s shield to protect me
God’s host to safeguard me;
Christ ever with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me
Christ to my right side, Christ to my left
Christ in his breadth, Christ in his length, Christ in depth
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me
Christ in the heart of every man who speaks to me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Salvation is from the Lord.
Patrick’s Lorica, The Confession of Saint Patrick, translated by John Skinner
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