In the shadow of mighty wings

Published 4:05 pm Friday, August 24, 2018

suppose I am old enough to begin to have a few “I wish I could have” thoughts.  For the most part my life has been fulfilling and filled with more goodness that I could ever deserve, but there are a few things that I think I would have found pleasing that probably will not become a reality.  One of them is that I wish I could have farmed for a living.  At this point in life, I will settle with working my little 2500 square feet of garden.  At least if the whole thing fails to make a crop I will not have to worry about it creating a huge loss for me.  And I have the pleasure of looking at the thousands of acres of beautiful crops as I travel around our part of the world and observe the various operations taking place from planting to harvesting.

An agricultural operation that I get to watch quite a bit this time of year is airplanes flying low spraying the fields.  It amazes me at the speed and maneuverability that the skilled pilot is able to demonstrate at low altitudes and in close quarters.  Even as a young child I was fascinated by them as they sprayed the cotton fields of north Georgia.

While I was mowing my lawn last weekend, I heard a sudden roar coming rapidly upon me and before I could make a move I felt that I was engulfed—and startled—by a darkness that for a flash of time interrupted the brightness of the summer sun.  It was frightening for a moment until I realized it was a low flying plane passing overhead at just the right angle for the wings of the aircraft to cast a quick shadow over me.  Thankfully it was merely a shadow and not the powerful machine flying into me.

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Among the descriptive words that are used in the Bible as the various writers creatively spoke of the protective presence of God is “the shadow of His wings.”  That does not suggest that God is a huge winged celestial creature, for He is not, but it is a means that the writers used to visualize His nearness and His greatness. 

David, one of the impressive kings of Israel and a writer that the Holy Spirit used in the penning of Scripture, used such terms numerous times in his writings.  In Psalm 57, when he was fleeing from one who was so filled with jealousy and wrath toward him that he sought to kill him, David wrote, “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in You my soul takes refuge.  I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed” (verse 1, New International Version).  David understood and expressed two powerful truths that we sometimes fail to practice during our times of distress:  we can trust God for protection and deliverance, and disasters pass—although they linger longer than we think they should, with God’s intervention they will cease.  There is safety in the shadow of His wings.

The shadow of the wings of that low flying, fast moving airplane was a reminder that there was a powerful machine up above me.  Under the shadow of God’s wings we can be reminded that He is near and concerned about our circumstances.  We face much in life that we have no control over and that lack of ability to control can cause us to resort to fear.  But like David in the Bible, we can find peace as we recognize that God is a refuge to which we can always turn and find peace.  “Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 63:7).