Our church had a bible conference yesterday. I’m sure everyone has an image of “bible conference” in their minds, so I don’t know what you envision when you read that. Basically some dude name Bill Mills from Leadership Resources came and spoke on “Living in the Father’s Blessing” for a few hours over 3 sessions.
He touched upon a number of different passages (we were flipping pages like IHOP flips pancakes), but camped out briefly on Psalm 91. What did this Psalm really mean? In case you’re not familiar with Psalm 91 (easily my top 3-and where I turn when anxiety hits), we find some lofty promises recorded there: no disaster will befall, protection from the “fowler’s snare,” only observing the destruction of the wicked, to name a few.
But what did this mean for an actual soldier? A soldier’s mother? That he would return home?
Bill told a story of a son who didn’t. In fact he was the only one in his company who died and just a few weeks before he was supposed to return.
Where was this blessing, this refuge, this shelter, these lofty promises? Could they be taken literally, seriously, or simply as the best option among others? The day before the young man was killed, he requested one of his commanding officers to print out his personal testimony of how he trusted in Christ. It was read in their chapel service the morning he died. Everyone was moved and his story was shared, and people even came to know Jesus at his memorial service.
To be shielded/blessed does not mean to be showered with health and wealth. To be shielded, blessed, protected, ultimately means that we WILL experience the full glory which God has prepared for us one day. We experience it in part now, but not in full.
Bill shared a number of stories, almost all of them being ‘sad’ stories. And they were hard to hear-pastors losing kids to Islamic terrorists, a newlywed dying of cancer, and even the recent loss of his sister. I actually almost cried 3 times, but ‘held’ myself together. It reminded me that life is precious, sweet, but short; nevertheless-everything pales in comparison with the glory He has reserved for His children. This is a deeper blessing. That’s what Romans 8:18-ff says.
But even now I can live with the blessing of the promise of God’s approval, of a partial experience of glory, and the comfort that He is Good and He is Powerful. These are what Bill called our “shoulders.” Everything happens in between these two shoulders. The Why we don’t often get, but at least we know The Who (and I’m not talking about the band). And to quote Aaron Neville, “that may be all I need to know.”