Good morning. It is Monday, July 12, 2021
My daughter and son-in-law celebrated their first wedding anniversary last month.
Over a year ago, as my daughter was in the planning stages of her wedding, she came to me and said, “I want to ask you something mom.” I replied, “I know what it is.” She said, “You could not possibly know what it is.” I said, “I bet I do.” She challenged, “what then?!”
With a smile I said, “You want me to marry you.”
You should have seen the look on her face. I do not think she could have been more flabbergasted. She raised her voice, and with her eyes wide asked, “How did you know that’s what I was going to ask?!?” I said “I don’t know. It just came to me a couple of days ago that you were going to ask me.”
I got my license to marry and on June 20, 2020, her daddy walked her down the isle and I performed the wedding ceremony. It was a very special day.
She had mentioned in passing a few weeks prior that she would like to get an apple tree. I decided to work that into the ceremony. Wendell bought an apple tree. It was about 3 feet tall, and at just the right time during the ceremony someone brought it forward as I read from Song of Solomon 2:3 “As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”
That tree was planted in the ground, and it is thriving in its new home.
A few days later I was in the courthouse handing in the paperwork from the ceremony. A couple was at the counter getting their marriage license and the woman overheard my conversation and asked if I would marry them. We talked for a few minutes, and I agreed.
Facebook reminded me of that event from a year ago this month. I wrote: “I performed my second marriage last night at a sweet little park in Grants Pass. The bride paid the homeless couple $10 to vacate the gazebo for an hour.
She had three guests: her two witnesses and one homeless man that asked if he could stay and watch. She graciously agreed. Her groom called me 'mam.'
Afterwards the homeless man asked if I would marry him and his girl. I had a nice conversation with him. He told me that when I pulled up earlier, I made him nervous; wondering if we were there to beat him up.
I said, "oh my! Isn't it amazing how we misread people and situations?" to which he replied “yes.”
He told me some people had driven by earlier and screamed at them to "get out of the park" He said to me, “I don't have anywhere else to go.” It made me sad.
He was a nice-looking man, mostly clean and kept. I wondered...what happened in his life to cause him to end up in a park, talking to me when I know he would have much rather been headed "home".
I never heard from him again, but it made me think about how much we have to be grateful for. Most of us have our very basic needs met and do not even give it a second thought. Food, water, shelter.
With all that said, there is a different kind of shelter that is absolutely critical to our well-being and salvation, the shelter of the Most High.
Psalm 91:1-4 ESV
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”
Have you ever seen a mother hen shelter her chicks, or a mother duck shelter her ducklings? She spreads her wings, and her babies gather under them. She does this to keep them dry; to hide them from the enemy, to protect them.
Jehovah is doing the same for us. He beckons us to come to Him and find protection from Satan’s snares.
When I started journaling last year, I came across those verses. Two words caught my eye: pinions and buckler. I was not clear on the meaning of either, so I looked them up.
Pinions: the outer part of a bird’s wing including the flight feathers.
Buckler: a small shield used not to cover the body, but to stop or parry blows.
Let’s go a bit further.
Most High: Yahweh, our Heavenly Father.
Abide: live or dwell
Fowler: a person who hunts.
Parry: ward off a weapon or attack with a countermove.
Shelter: protect or shield from something harmful.
Fortress: military stronghold or a person or thing not susceptible to outside influence or disturbance.
Refuge: a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.
Shield: …used as a protection against blows or missiles.
Can you see this great word picture painted for us here?!
Not only does our Heavenly Father invite us to take refuge under His strong arms, but He then shields us from the hunter. He not only puts us behind His shield, but He holds a buckler to protect us from every counter move. He is our military stronghold. We are safe with Him.
I do not know about you, but I would much rather be headed home. When Jesus ascended to heaven after His crucifixion, He told His disciples “In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:2-3 ESV
Oh, how I long for that day. In the meantime, until the day Jesus comes again, I will find refuge in the arms of Yahweh.