Peggy Joyce Ruth, author of Psalm 91: God’s Shield of Protection, learned an unforgettable lesson concerning Psalm 91:4, “He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”
“My husband and I live in the country, and one spring, our old mother hen hatched some baby chicks. One afternoon, when the little chicks were scattered all over the yard, I suddenly saw the shadow of a hawk overhead. What happened next taught me a lesson I will never forget. That mother hen did not run all over the barnyard and jump on top of those chicks in an attempt to cover them with her wings as one might have expected. Instead, to my surprise, she squatted down, spread out her wings and began to squawk. Without hesitation, those little chicks came running to her from every direction and then ducked under those outstretched wings. Then she pulled her wings down tight, tucking every little chick safely under her. There was no way that hawk could get to those babies without going through that mother hen.”[i]
What a fitting illustration! There is never a moment that God is not a refuge for His children, “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). His “wings” are outstretched, waiting for us to run to Him. The words “you may seek refuge” in Psalm 91:4 mean “to flee for protection.”
How Do We Run to God for Protection?
Whenever faced with a threat to our wellbeing, we can run to God. How do we do that? The rest of Psalm 91:4 tells us, “His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.” We see God’s faithfulness when we counter a current threat with a promise from His Word. We speak His promise to our problem, thank Him for the solution, and His faithfulness shields us.
Too often, we rely on our resources for life’s minor problems, not realizing that little troubles offer huge opportunities in learning to trust God. For example, I lost one of my favorite earrings the other day – again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost one of those treasured pearls. Each time one is lost, I have a choice. I can suffer the disappointment and buy a new pair. Or I can practice trusting God. Once again, I chose the latter option.
“God, you tell me to be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, I should let my requests be made known to you. So, I thank you for showing me where that pearl earring is.”
A few moments later, a thought came to my mind that it was on the back porch. I went there, looked down on the floor, and sure enough, there was my treasured pearl. Joy filled my heart, as once again, God proved His faithfulness to me.
Learning to Hear His Voice
That’s how God speaks to us. His Word appears as a thought, and we can learn to distinguish His voice and obey. Sometimes our disobedience proves to be a valuable lesson. Something terrible happens, and we remember a thought we had that could have averted the entire situation. Then we say, “Oh, that was God! Next time, I’ll listen!”
As we practice running to God’s ever-outstretched wing in small matters, our trust in Him grows. Then, when big problems arise, we run to Him just as we did for the little things. We claim a promise from His Word that fits the challenge, speak it, and thank God for His help.
Too often, people think that God couldn’t be bothered with the little things. After all, He has more important things to do than to help me find a silly earring. How unfortunate when we pass up a golden “teaching moment” in trusting God’s faithfulness! If the earring means a lot to me, then it means a lot to my loving, caring Father, and it’s not silly at all. Trusting God in the small matters teaches us how He cares for every detail in our lives.
Practicing Running to Him
Each opportunity to run to God, rather than our resources, helps build our trust in God’s faithfulness. I like to think of this learning process as the Lord’s boot camp. He wants us to learn how to hear His voice even more than we do. Why would He not show us His faithfulness in life’s seemingly small matters?
When our feet hit the floor each morning, we can learn to say, “Oh boy! Another day to learn how much God loves me!” And then, when the dark storms of life arise to terrorize us, we can put our training into practice and proclaim, “I will flee to God’s outstretched wing! His faithfulness is my shield and buckler! Amen!”