Jesus Longs For Us to Find Refuge Under His Wings of Love

Courtesy of Heartlight
“Like a bird protecting its young,
God will cover you with His feathers,
will protect you under His great wings;
His faithfulness will form a shield around you,
a rock-solid wall to protect you.”
Psalm 91:4 VOICE

God often uses birds as an analogy of His loving care and protection over us. When an April snowstorm hit us, I watched a visible sign of this truth. A house finch pair already had a nest outside my office window. It was amazing to see how they kept the eggs warm and did not leave them to find shelter for themselves. The eggs did hatch and the parents faithfully fed, cared for, and protected them. If the little ones needed more warmth or were afraid, they snuggled more deeply under the wings of their mother.

Birds will sacrifice their own lives to keep their young ones safe. I once heard a story of a mother bird whose blackened and dead body was found by rangers after a forest fire. One of them bumped her body with a stick and out popped three little chicks alive and well. She could have flown to safety, but she remained to protect her beloved young and give her life for theirs.

Though a bird will give its life for its young, there are times when it has no power against much stronger enemies. That will never happen with God. He is invincible. There is no enemy too strong for Him. We can always find refuge under His Almighty wings of safety in the storms of life. 

And there will be storms, because we are part of this sinful, fallen world. As long as we are on this earth, physical, mental, and emotional losses in various forms will continue to cause heart-rending grief, anxiety, and fear.

We all need a Shelter, a Refuge, a Safe Savior in these storms.

Jesus mourns when we don’t choose to find refuge underneath His loving, shielding wings. When Jerusalem rejected Jesus and His love, He wept (Luke 19:41). He voiced His sorrow in Luke 13:34b:

“How often I have longed to
gather your children together,
as a hen gathers her chicks
under her wings,
and you were not willing.”

Jesus longs for us to find refuge under His wings of love and safety. He longs for us to believe He willingly gave His life for us to rescue us from sin, eternal death, and Satan. He longs for us to take it to heart that He loves us so much that He suffered an excruciating death for us to keep us safe.

Yes, it’s hard to trust there is safety under His wings if our trust has been horribly betrayed or if we are so confused about what love really is. It took me many years to believe I can trust Him. To believe His intentions toward us are always honorable and life-giving, not hurtful and life-taking.

Even if we hesitate to take shelter beneath His loving wings, He never stops loving us or caring about us. His wings are always open, entreating us to find refuge in Him. His patience knows no end!

Lord, thank You for loving us so much and longing for us to take shelter in You. Please help us to trust You with all our hearts. Take away all the roadblocks that keep us from fleeing to find refuge in You. Take away all the trust issues we may have in our hearts. Take away all our self-sufficiency. Please help us to snuggle underneath Your wings of loving care with all our restlessness, anxiety, and fear. Help us to picture Your protective wings around us whenever we step forward into places or situations that make us feel so afraid and untrusting but yet will help us on the road to healing the brokenness within us. Help us to be dependent on You and Your all-sufficient grace in whatever struggles we go through in this life. Thank You that Your wings of love and safety are invincible.

Your Wings
by Lauren Daigle

When Shame Condemns Us

“What is wrong with me? Nothing I think, feel, say, or write is right. I am a mistake. I’m such a bad person.”

Do you ever feel this way? Deeply rooted shame from abuse (whether sexual, physical, verbal, mental, or spiritual) can consciously or subconsciously debilitate us and sink us into self-destructive behavior and/or self-condemnation.

Traumatic attacks on our minds, hearts, and bodies gouge a gaping wound within us, and it takes time to process the deep pain and root out the resulting shame. It can be a life-long process to acknowledge our pain, grieve what we lost, and work through all the deep emotions. 

God hasn’t created us to struggle alone. We need others, even if it’s one person, to listen to our stories, to believe us, and to support us. To listen and encourage without judgment or condescension. To remind us it’s not our fault. To tell us it’s ok to feel the way we do and to talk about it.  

Non-supportive and judgmental words, actions, and attitudes or the lack of supportive ones can hinder our healing, make us feel victimized all over again, and cause us to retreat into our own pain and throw up thicker walls around our hearts and lives.

Maybe you’ve heard some people dismiss or minimize abuse or assault? Maybe even blame the victim, ourselves included, instead of the abuser? Or mock and condemn the victim when he or she finally gained the courage to tell? It hurts deep within our souls, doesn’t it?

Has anyone ever told you,”You must not have enough faith or you would be healed by now.”? Or “Let it go. The past is past. Move on with your life.”? Or “You shouldn’t bring these things up. You’re supposed to forgive and forget.”? It’s like they’re saying “SHAME ON YOU!” while at the same time shooting an arrow into your heart.

My only hope to get through these times
is to pour out my heart to Jesus.
He cares and understands,
and He never shames or condemns us.

Perhaps you have been told it’s wrong to go to a therapist or to take anti-depressants? That it’s a sin because you’re trusting people rather than God to help you?

God created our entire beings, not just our bodies. He created our emotions, too. Just as we may need doctors and medicines as means blessed by God to heal us or to better cope with chronic illness, we may need a learned therapist and/or depression or anxiety medications to guide us through the healing of our emotional health.

I have come a long way through years of these means, because God blessed them. Other supportive people have also been used to strengthen and encourage me through this continuing, difficult journey, including many of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I have learned to better process my emotions, but I still avoid certain people or situations that I know hinder further healing, and I still get triggered from condemning remarks or attitudes thrown at victims of abuse. Then shame rears its ugly head again, and I am thrown back to painful memories. All the negative voices and insecurities flood my soul again.

I have to desperately cry out to Jesus
to rescue me and other victims.
I could never have gotten
to this point without Him.

We  have a Savior who has suffered the depths of shame to make it possible for us to heal from it. With open arms, He invites us to open our hearts to His comfort and healing grace. He desires for us to pour out all our hurts and needs to Him, even if they’re only wordless cries and sighs. And He never condemns us. He cries with us and helps us to grieve, to function, and to heal ever deeper.

Jesus says,
“The thief approaches with malicious intent,
looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy;
I came to give life with joy and abundance.”
John 10:10 The Voice

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.”
Psalm 10:17-18

“He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1

“Even If”
by Mercy Me

“I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone…”

The Grace-Giver Gives and Gives and Gives Again

“He giveth and giveth and giveth again.”

Words I still hear in my mind from a cassette tape many years ago. Darlene Rose, a missionary in Papua New Guinea during and after WWII, suffered in a Japanese prison camp for four years and lived to testify of the power of God’s grace. Through torture, death threats, and her husband’s death in another prison, Darlene continued to place all her hope in Jesus. He was the Grace-Giver she constantly cried out to. And He repeatedly reminded her that His grace is sufficient. Not was. Not will be. But IS.

Through all our troubles in life, whatever they may be, we need and have the same Grace-Giver. When we’re sinking in the midst of troubles and losses, we can’t always see God in them. But often in hindsight, we can see He gives and gives and gives again. Far above what we ask or think, His limitless grace sustains us and makes it possible for us to survive.

A couple of weeks ago, triggered emotions of pain and betrayal ran deep and threatened to drown me.

I longed to walk in God’s creation, a place of rest God has often used to comfort me and remind me He is Almighty and still in control, but the air was too cold for me. Then God gave us a warmer day and I headed to one of my favorite areas on the bike trail.

As I walked, I asked God for a deer, but I quickly withdrew my request – “I’m so sorry, God, if I’m being unthankful. You already showed me a butterfly. Thank You!”

Several steps further, my heart stilled in awe. A deer! Thank You, Lord!

Jets thundered overhead, and she gracefully leaped over the brush into the safety of the woods nearby.

My heart, too, was longing for refuge from the thunder of my emotions. Oh, how I ached to leap into God’s arms.

I headed over the bridge and sat down on a bench and begged God to bring truth to light and to take my fear away. This heart-wrenching fear for victims of abuse.

“I am the Truth… I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” He whispered. He assured me that if I open my heart to be filled by Him who is Truth, I need not fear what happens. I just need to listen for the voice of Truth Himself who has the power to reach every single person in this world.

The lyrics of a song by Casting Crowns began to play in my heart and continued often through the coming days:

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
And the voice of truth says, “This is for My glory…”

Victims all over this world are silenced and not believed, afraid and devastated beyond what many can ever understand. But God who is Truth Himself remains and knows what’s true. He cares and understands us more than anyone ever will. He sees every single tear that falls, and He cries with us.

His unlimited grace pours out to hurting souls. This moment. Right now. No matter what we have lost. No matter how dark and lonely we feel. No matter what anyone thinks or says of us.

We may not always feel like His grace reaches us, but often in hindsight we see His steps of grace all along the way. Lighting our way in the dark, carrying us when we are too weak to walk on, and breathing hope into us when we feel like giving up.

Yes, the Grace-Giver gives and gives and gives again. He invites us to tap into His powerful love that heals us. And even when we waver and doubt, He still keeps giving us His strength to keep going. His grace IS sufficient. Not was. Not will be. But IS.

“But He said to me,
‘My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is made perfect in weakness.'”
2 Corinthians 12:9
“Jesus answered,
‘I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.'”
John 14:6
“Then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32

“Voice of Truth”
by Casting Crowns