by June Friesen
What might it be like to live under God’s shield? In several places in the Scriptures it references how living close to God, following God, and obeying God all help us to know our lives will be protected. However, the challenge may be how or what that protection looks like. Does that mean I will have no big catastrophes in my life? Does that mean that I will not have temptations or problems on a daily basis? When I think of a shield I think of something that is strong and I usually think of it as being metal because I feel security behind metal more so than wood or other materials. One reference that is often used when talking about a shield is from Ephesians in reference to one’s faith. In the Philips translation, Ephesians 6:16 reads: “…be sure you take faith as your shield, for it can quench every burning missile the enemy hurls at you.” Definitely, when we are actively walking with God we will be more able to ward off wandering after the enemy’s false leading. If one reads the whole of Ephesians 6 we become aware of the fact that it says this is to be a daily habit.
I would like to share another scripture from the Psalms. Psalm 34 gives a more complete explanation in how one’s life can be actively alert to God’s ways and plan.
I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.
2 I live and breathe God; if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:
3 Join me in spreading the news; together let’s get the word out.
4 God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.
5 Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him.
6 When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot.
7 God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray.
8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see— how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.
9 Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness…..
14 Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace—don’t let it get away!
15 God keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan.
16 God won’t put up with rebels; he’ll cull them from the pack.
17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you.
18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.
19 Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.
20 He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken.
Recently I have been challenged in my own thoughts and life walk about how I can fully embrace life instead of struggling with the fear that wants to drag me down. While I am intrigued as well as fascinated by bugs I also have a healthy respect as well as fear of some of them. It is interesting how some of the smaller ones can be the most annoying and bothersome as well as more dangerous than the big ones. Above you will see a photo I took of a tarantula. We have them in Arizona as well as black widow spiders. Both have a venomous bite however the black widow bite is much more serious than the tarantula. A tarantula however is much larger and easier to see than a black widow. I remember one time opening one of my drawers with t-shirts in it to find a black widow hanging there on a web she had woven over the top of the shirts. I do not have any recollection of what I did at that point but I do know we had to get it outside. Bees are another interesting insect that is very needed in our ecology of nature. Actually, all insects serve a purpose in ecology, some may be more needed than others. However, bees can also pose a problem for humans, especially those who are allergic to them. Then of course there are ants and flies and so many more – again they all have some usefulness as well as can be annoying and bothersome. It is kind of that way with humanity as well. I have to kind of smile as I think that yes, each one of us is needed and necessary. Some may appear and seem more useful and pleasant than others yet God’s design is for all of us to get to know Him and develop a relationship with Him. One of the things that is necessary for you and me to be useful in God’s kingdom here on earth is for each one of us to live or ‘Be under God’s shield.’ And that my friend spells BUGS. Yes, today I want to leave a challenge for each one of us – to adopt a spiritual bug: BE UNDER GOD’S SHIELD. It is a challenge to live out our lives by truly living under God’s direction, protection, and power – all empowered by God’s love.
BUGS, BUGS, BUGS
Have you ever wondered why God created bugs?
Especially those bugs that bite and buzz around your head?
And then there are those who try to share your dinner with you –
And others who just look creepy and crawl everywhere.
And then there are those bugs that build their homes in the worst places –
They have no care that it is where you want to look out the window
Or if it is where you want to sit or walk –
Or that it is a cupboard where you store those seldom-used things.
Bugs, bugs, bugs –
God how in the world do you expect me to cope
With these little annoying creatures –
Oh but wait a minute, there are those that are rather big as well – UGH!
Then there are those people who bug me –
Some days and times their bugging is rather welcome,
As I may be feeling down or alone or rather bored;
But then there are others and other days when that is definitely not the case.
Bug, bug, bug – what is it that you want from me?
Why is it that you are annoying me to the point of anger?
Don’t make me tell you off.
Don’t make me do something you or I will regret.
God, what is it you want me to do with this person who is bugging me?
Should I ignore them, or hit them, or hurt them physically or with words?
What? You want me to love them. You want me to control my anger.
Come on God how in the world can I do that?
My child, take some time alone to pray,
First, tell me all it is that bothers you about this person and your problem;
Then take some time to sit quietly with me and ponder that I love both of you,
And then please open your spirit and I will fill it with love for them like you never could have imagined.
BUGS = Be Under God’s Shield
J. Friesen 2016
The writing at the end I wrote in 2016. All photos are by June Friesen. Scripture is from the J.B. Phillips translation.
Prayer cards are available in the shop for many occasions and seasons–from everyday pauses and Lenten ruminations to breath meditations and Advent reflections, enjoy guided prayers and beautiful illustrations designed to delight and draw close. Many are available in single sets, sets of three, and to download–even bundled with other resources!