Updated: Jan 19, 2021
“I just can’t be challenged by the Lord right now.” My husband said that to me one time and I just couldn’t understand it. What do you mean you can’t be challenged? Where is your faith? As I look back on it, I suppose, I just wanted us both to see the same things. I wanted him to see from where I was seeing. But in that season, he needed to see and experience God differently. He was still reading God’s word and praying but he needed to shelter for a while. He didn’t use the word shelter, but I later came to understand this need for myself.
I first coined the phrase, “I’m sheltering,” when we took our son back to the States for college. When my friends would ask me, “How are you doing with your son being 10,000 miles away from home?” I would answer, “I’m sheltering.” I didn’t even know what that meant. But I felt like I just couldn’t hear advice. I didn’t need counsel or instruction from friends or from the Lord. I needed something else. And in that season of grief, I didn’t know what to do. I needed to experience His presence in a different way. I needed to see Him!
That was 10 years ago now but there have been other seasons. Times when I have felt exhausted by the word, by devotionals, podcasts and sermons. Sometimes I just need to be with Him - not challenged by Him. In these moments I don’t need more self-examinations, check lists or an agenda of any kind. I don’t want to plan or think too deep! Does that make sense?
But to do nothing? Is it enough to be quiet and not even talk? Is it enough to just be near Him for the sheer pleasure of His company? Or do I have to do something? Can I see Him, experience Him in nature or is that too weird? Can I appreciate the gift of Him when hearing the hum of the hummingbird flying by? Can I just wonder at His incredible creativity as I smell jasmine from the neighbors plant? Is this enough? Does this count? Somehow, I think it does.
While a shelter is not designed to be a permanent place to live, it is a place of protection, a place of rest, and a place to hide for season. Yet maybe, just maybe this ‘shelter’ is more than that!
Let’s face it, sometimes stuff happens and we don’t know what to do. Sometimes we need to simply shelter with Him. As I reflect on sheltering today I guess I can say, that in those seasons, I have seen Him best from inside the shelter because He has sheltered with me. I will remind myself today of past sheltering seasons and not look at those seasons as pauses in my spiritual walk. And I will remember that sheltering never has been nor ever will be unproductive or a waste of time.
It is enough! He is what I need.
Psalm 91:1-2 NLT : Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
Dear Lord, thank you for being true to your word. You are my shelter and my hiding place. Today, I just need to see you and spend time in your presence. Will you keep meeting me there?
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.