Psalm 62:7-8 (The Message)
“my help and glory are in God—granite-strength and safe-harbor-God— So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be.”
I had a few hours before our stay-at-home order was to go into effect. We had already been staying home as much as possible for a week. No school for the kids, which also means no job for me. I am a substitute teacher. My mind had been reeling over the lost income. How long will this last? Do I need to look for another job? I had just settled in to this one.
Along with lack of income, I was struggling at the thought of all 8 of us being together all of the time for an undetermined amount of time. I LOVE my family but it is good for us to have time a apart, if you know what I mean.
With the time left, Dave wanted to go to Menard’s, a local store akin to Home Depot, to get stuff for the house and yard. I, on the other hand, had the urge to go to Lake Michigan to be inspired and refreshed. That’s us in a nutshell, work and play.
Dave encouraged me to go, knowing it would help me. Once there with iPhone camera, Bible and notebook in hand, I started to walk. I took in what my eyes could find as I got my bearings in this new-to-me place. I intentionally slowed my mind and body. As the 30 degree cold wind hit my face I saw the water, the lighthouse, the sky, the rocks and the walking path hugging the shoreline. Something about big water and big sky draws me toward God and stillness.
As I turned the corner toward the marina it dramatically became warmer. I took a breath enjoying the change. About 10 steps later the noise shifted, becoming extremely quiet. It was so strange that a line of huge rocks could drastically change the volume of the lake. On one side of the breakwater it was loud and choppy, but on the other it was perfectly calm and noticeably hushed. A small group of people sat and chatted on a lone boat among lines of empty docks. Wisconsin had yet to mandate staying at home.
It hit me like a ton of bricks, this is what I need to know and remember. God is like this, a safe harbor. When all the world is swirling about, when the news batters our minds, and when the real threat of sickness or death shakes us, we have a place to go. God is our safe harbor.
Later, I googled “safe harbor scripture.” Psalm 62 in The Message version came up. I read it. I read it again. I let the truth take up residence inside my body. For eternity and for now, God is a “safe-harbor-God.”
At home, while this continued to simmer in my heart and mind, I looked up another version of Psalm 62 from John Goldingay’s “The First Testament.” In verse 1 and verse 5 similar phrases struck me: “indeed, towards God my entire being is silent,” and “indeed be silent towards God, my entire being.”
Psalm 62:1-8 (from The First Testament)
“Indeed, towards God my entire being is silent; from him my deliverance comes. Indeed, he is my crag and my deliverance, my turret – I shall not slip far. How long will you attack someone, commit murder, all of you? Like a bent wall, a fence that’s been pulled down – indeed, they have taken counsel so as to pull him down from his dignity. They accept lying; they bless with their mouth, but inside they slight. (Rise)
Indeed, be silent towards God, my entire being, because from him my hope comes. Indeed, he’s my crag, my deliverance, my turret – I shall not slip. On God rests my deliverance and my splendour; my strong rock, my shelter, is God in person. Trust in him at all times, you people, pour out your hearts before him; God is our shelter. (Rise)
I escaped to the lake, trying to navigate this new territory in which we find ourselves. I became silent. The noise is loud. My heart had been rising within me. I needed quiet. Yes, we need to listen to the important current realities. We need to take appropriate action, for ourselves and others. But we also need to be silent towards God. Why? Verse 1 and 5 also say, “from him my deliverance comes” and “because from him my hope comes.” These are promises from God: deliverance and hope. Find a spot and a time to still yourself before God. He will calm the waters of your mind and heart. He is our safe harbor during this storm.
What part of your mind and heart are churned up because of what is happening with the Covid-19 virus? How is God calming you in these unprecedented days? Have you found a new rhythm in order to get quiet before God? If you are so inclined, share in the comments. What you are finding just may help someone else.