As I sat in church this morning listening to the beautiful violin music of Susan Haack, I was reminded once again of all that Susan is going through. She has given me permission to share one of her daily writings, and I pray Susan doesn’t mind that I’m revealing a little bit about her. Susan is a retired doctor from Wisconsin who now lives full time in Anthem with her loving and supportive husband, Spice. She plays the violin like an angel, writes 5 or 6 days a week a message, based on that day’s scripture, that goes out to probably hundreds of her loyal readers. Susan completed the first Stephen Ministry training session at our church several years ago, and even though she is going through a struggle with cancer for over two years, she has been ministering regularly to a care receiver. We’ve heard many people say Susan helps them more than any of us could ever help her. To say that Jerry and I greatly admire this wonderful saint is an understatement. Here is a recent writing of Susan’s that especially resonated with me. Hope you will find a few minutes to read this message from Susan based on Psalm 31:19-24
19 How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.
21 Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.
22 In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.
I don’t know about you but when I was small I had secret hiding places. Sadly, there was a lot of strife in our family and to escape that strife I would flee to one of two places: I had a bed with a “bookcase headboard” so I could crawl under the bed and actually sit up under the bookcase; or in good weather, we had a platform in a tree in the woods by the river (a “tree fort”) where I could crawl up and watch the river go by. As we grow older we don’t outgrow our need for secret hiding places; we find them in things like books, hobbies, or even drugs and alcohol. But David shows us a much better place–the secret place of God’s presence.
“…In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues…”
Earlier in the psalm, David has cried out to God to be his refuge, his rock, his stronghold, his fortress. Now David is thanking God for being just that–a secret hiding place where he is safe from all adversity. In faith and trust he sought safety in the presence of the Lord and found it–but he found more than just safety. He found the wonders of God’s love for him.
“In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help…Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.”
David admits that initially he felt cut-off from God, yet he cried to God and God answered him. And he cannot keep God’s response or deliverance to himself, so he invites all God’s people–including us!–to love God and to take courage in the face of adversity, for we, too, can find safety and love in the secret place of God’s presence.
Lord, in the midst of the struggles we face in this world, may we in faith always seek safety, peace, love, and rest in the shelter of Your presence. For You are Immanuel–God with us–always.