The Shade on My Right Hand

Change is ahead. And truth be told, I’m not naturally wired for change . . . a little deficient, perhaps in the adventure gene. But a new season’s coming and I have no doubt it’s the Lord’s leading. Nevertheless, I’m not naturally wired for change . . . did I mention that already? Because I know it’s of the Lord, 98.5% of my anticipation would be characterized by genuine excitement. The other 1.5% was ministered to this morning through God’s word.

First in Philippians, where Paul writes that he has learned “in whatever situation I am to be content” (4:11). Our peace defined less by our circumstance but founded, instead, upon our ever-present Shepherd. That whether we are “brought low” or whether we “abound,” the secret of contentment in all situations is knowing that “I can do all things though Him who strengthens me” (4:13). An old, familiar, reliable promise. Thanx Lord, I needed that.

Then I was reading in the Psalms. And my Father continued to speak to me through His Word . . .

The LORD is your keeper;
      the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
      nor the moon by night.     (Psalm 121:5-6 ESV)

A song of ascents. A song to be sung while making the trip to Jerusalem. A tune to be hummed . . . lyrics to be meditated on . . . as pilgrims traveled–what was often a dangerous journey–in order to be where the presence of God rested. And as they lifted their eyes to the hills of their desired destination, they were reminded it was the place from where their help comes from. That if they were doing God’s will in God’s way, though the path might get a bit unpredictable at times, whatever help they needed would come from “the LORD who made heaven and earth” (121:1).

For the LORD had covenanted to be their keeper. He had promised to watch over them . . . to hedge them about and protect them . . . to lead them in His ways, even those ways which were new ways, as they responded in faith-fueled obedience. And as their keeper, He would be their shade on their right hand.

Change has a way of turning up the heat. The spotlight seems to shine intensely . . . whether it’s evaluating the legacy of the season past, or watching how you enter the season on the horizon. Granted, it might be a self-created, self-imagined, spotlight . . . but still, it can sear the soul a bit. And then, no doubt, there’s the fiery rays of doubt sown by the enemy. Minor panic attacks once in awhile echoing, “Really?” But the LORD is my keeper and He is the shade on my right hand.

Like a great rock or a great oak, He protects from the burning heat and glaring light. At my right hand, drawing alongside, He shields me from the heat of the journey and returns my focus to the glory of the destination. Mine is to faithfully follow . . . and He has promised to be the shade on my right hand.

Kinda’ nervous. But reminded of God’s unfailing, limitless, abiding grace . . . as, by faith, I walk in the paths I believe He has laid for me.

Change is ahead. And while I may not naturally be wired for change . . . I am in the shade of the God who transcends the natural.

By His grace . . . for His glory . . .

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