Wherever We Dwell

“Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.”[1]

 

What does it mean when we Christians experience tragedy? This is a difficult situation, but I will first approach it with a basic concept: immunity.

 

“Those who belong to God will not be immune from suffering; they will not be spared the brokenness which life brings to all persons.”[2] We live in a culture that values immunity. Have you received your flu shot? Or your Pneumonia shot? Or your shingles shot? I could keep going. All these vaccinations are to give us immunity to various viruses. We’re even entertained by those who receive immunity. Who has celebrated a participant receiving immunity on the television shows like “Survivor” or “Big Break?” On those shows immunity can give the break one needs to get ahead and win. So, I could not fault anyone who reads the Old Testament and expects immunity through worshipping God, making the Lord part of their life, living in the shadow of the Most High. But, they may soon be disappointed. Despite the hopeful words of the psalmist of the Old Testament in which “no evil shall be allowed to befall you,” our brokenness will prevail over any expected immunity. How do we go on?

 

We Christians in our brokenness will find in our Lord the “spiritual resources and strength to persevere in times of trouble.”[3]  These days we’re struggling with the coming of the Ebola virus. Oh, we wish there was immunity to that. Many are withdrawing from public places in defense. Some organizations are shutting their doors, shuttering factories to try and gain control of the spread. That’s how we respond to a virus. This is a common response to anything that stirs our fears. But consider this, Tuesday an American video journalist treated for Ebola is now free of the virus and released from the Nebraska hospital.[4] At least someone had to put aside their fears and treat the patient. I’m sure they took every reasonable precaution. We Christians are offered the resource and strength to persevere in many trying situations. It comes through God’s love for us.

 

“God knows that the darkness threatens to overwhelm us and so he draws near,” writes Matthew A. Rich.[5] God draws near to us! Through Jesus Christ we have learned that God comes into our tragic situations. From my own experience, in tragedy we have the opportunity to truly experience the real presence of God. Like in the story of Zacchaeus[6], the Almighty comes to our dwelling place through Christ, despite our brokenness. Tragedy offers an opportunity to feel the presence God, wherever we dwell.

 

[1] Psalm 91:9-10 (ESV)

[2] William Leonard, Holman Bible Dictionary, “Sovereignty of God”

[3] Ibid.

[4] https://news.yahoo.com/omaha-hospital-says-american-video-journalist-free-ebola-225917604.html

[5] Rich, Matthew A., A Week from Next Tuesday, Wipf & Stock Publishers, © 2013, p.98

[6] Luke 19:1-10

About Pastor Steve

Pastor Steve Hodges is an ordained minister, pastoring a church in central Virginia.
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