9-1-1 moments: dwelling and abiding

This Monday and Tuesday mornings, I woke up at 9:11. Most of the time I take no real notice of what exact time I wake up. Other times, like these times, the numbers stand out or linger and I wonder if I am being signaled about something. On Monday I sat down and got quiet and prayed about it and Psalm 91:1 came to mind: "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

After waking at the same time on Tuesday, I read Psalm 91 again and wondered what, if anything, God might be saying to me. I now realize that perhaps God was preparing me for some bad news and showing me how to cope with it by running to Him and finding rest for my troubled soul.

On Tuesday night, just before leaving work, I read some bad news that was like a kick in the stomach. I realized that a lot of my reaction to this bad news is that I want to fix the situation or see it fixed. I want what it seems that only God can do and since I'm not God, I can only pray to God and do the small things I can do. This reminds me of Reinhold Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer (1934) that was adopted by Alcoholic's Anonymous in 1950: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

I think it gives you serenity to accept that you cannot change something, while fully believing God can although you can not control God, but just humbly ask.

That leads me to The Ninety-first Psalm's words: To dwell in God's presence and experience being under His protection. When I dwell in God's presence, I am connecting with God who is all powerful and at complete peace at the same time. God gives me serenity, courage, and wisdom. I am reminded that God cares about people in trouble more than I do.

To dwell is something I do, something I have control over. It's a faith action on my part. It's like running to, or seeking out the river and getting into it. Being under God's protection is what God does. The psalmist says that is you take action to dwell in the secret place, that you will end up abiding in God's shadow of protection.

For me, what this means and the experience of it is that I've got to dial down and retreat into connecting myself to God. I word picture would be that I'm a shepherd of my thoughts and feelings and reactions. I have authority over these and can take them into the pen where the chief shepherd is and let him say, "peace" to them. It is an exercise of faith to seek God and God rewards seekers with His presence. God gives me peace that passes all understanding.

You might say that you don't know how to dwell. To dwell is to commune which has to do with communicating. Communicate with God. Start there. Be honest, pour out your heart. If you're so upset, you can't speak, then just sit; focused on God and open your heart.

It's ideal actually to always dwell in God and be protected.