Under the Shadow of the Most High

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One day I was speaking with someone about their first visit to a therapist.  I jokingly said I bet they blamed it all on your mom.  He smiled and said what I least expected to hear.  “Some of it is.”  You see this surprised me because I know his mom and she is a good person- so anything negative about her was a shock.  Then he clarified it.  You see she was so good that he never felt that he could live up to that level of goodness.  He almost didn’t feel like trying.  He told me she always encouraged him and helped him to see the good in himself, reminding him that he was at the beginning of his faith journey, and that it had taken her many years and falls to get to where she was- but he always felt little in comparison to her.

This hurt my heart, and I thought of my early relationship with God.  All I could hear was the beginning of Psalm 91 “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  

Have you ever contemplated the goodness of God?  I mean really looked at the whole picture, His faithfulness, His patience, His radical love for us that while we were still sinners and lost in this world, He chose to die for us?  Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming.  Years ago, I didn’t realize I was supposed to rest in His shadow, that I was supposed to find comfort and security in it.  I just felt smothered by it.  God was so good, how was I ever supposed to get to that level, let alone be in a state of grace where I could approach Him.  Almost not worth trying.  The age-old question is how can a God who is so good want to associate with someone who is not?

Leviticus 19:2 Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

We all know we were made in His likeness and image; this includes holiness. But this word holiness has been a stumbling block for many of us.  Who can really be holy?  What does that entail?  How many things do I need to give up? To hear my confirmation students speak of it- holiness sounds like kryptonite. Something to keep at arm’s length and that only a select few can handle.

If we can look back to our own conversion story, we can see clearly what we didn’t back then- how God continued to approach and call us, and how He finally was able to draw us to Himself.  God was looking for us when we were still lost in sin.  He is continuously approaching us, and we keep running away saying like the lepers in the old testament – “stay away, unclean” The fact is that a perfect God who can dwell anywhere, chooses to live in us.

Thoughts like, I will never be good enough, how can He love me? and I will never be worthy- come from the evil one.  Satan’s goal is to make us think that we are hypocrites and dirty and should never approach God, let alone think that God wants to approach us.  

The truth is that God is not human, He is Love.  His holiness should be something to aspire to and should draw us nearer not set us apart.  The God I know isn’t sitting back with a list and checking it off.  He is merciful and patient.  What I have found is that the closer I draw near, the more I love Him.  The more I love Him the more He helps me to get over my imperfections.  It is not an overnight change but like any good relationship it takes time and fidelity.   

After some reflection I went back to my friend and told him my thoughts.  How he needed a new perspective.  His mother’s goodness should not be something that makes him feel small- it should make him proud, empower him and give him hope. He was her son and had so many of her qualities.  Looking at my relationship with God- His holiness makes me proud to be His daughter and empowers me because His Holy Spirit dwells within me and makes all things possible; this is life giving hope. I pray that you also can be drawn closer to Him and that His graces can be abundant in your life, and that you too can dwell in the shadow of the Most High.

Posted on May 21, 2023, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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