Psalm 91, fighting our battles

“Rise, you kings and queens of Narnia” 

The battle is intense.  Enemies surround the little girl and she can hear arrows fly by her head, and they narrowly miss her as she pushes her horse to maximum speed.  And just as the enemy gains ground on her, she sees Him.

Finally.

His roar terrifies her.

But, it is a voice she recognizes and she can’t get to Him fast enough.

Her excitement to see him knocks him down.  He doesn’t mind.  He embraces the child and she rests her head in his deep broad chest.  Nothing can touch her now.

Right?

It doesn’t take long before she begins to pepper him with questions. Her first question sounds more like an indictment:

“Why didn’t you come and save us like last time, why wouldn’t You show yourself to us?” 

Her question is not unlike mine.  It’s one I ask often, and rarely get the answer I am looking to get. Psalm 91 answers the question for me, and I find when I seek the answer from Him, He does give it to me, just like He did with Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian.   

Also not unlike Lucy, I get discouraged when I look for Him and seemingly can’t find Him.  Every circumstance and every person around Lucy indicated that Aslan was in her imagination.  Everything pointed towards them being right.

Lucy had to wonder, DOES Aslan exist?  Despite the precious embrace with Him she has to answer his question:

“Why did you stop looking for me just because others do not believe?”

Every single time I see this scene I have to answer the same question.  Only His word gives my heart the answer is so desperately seeks.  Then I have to decide, do I believe what He tells me in His Word?

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty (Shaddai)” Psalm 91:1

This verse pushes me to find this shelter that the psalmist describes.  My body and my mind crave rest.  Oftentimes, I look for it in places He isn’t.  Sometimes I find it and not unlike Lucy, I will bury my head in His chest, fall apart, pull away from Him and then indict Him because He feels so far away.

Psalm 91 is clearly a Psalm written from the threshold of despair and Hope.  As the Psalmist continues, it is almost like he is trying to convince himself.  But he begins to speak words of truth and the progression of his Hope is very powerful.

“I will say to the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust” (v2)

This is the only transaction necessary by us.  He does the rest.  All Lucy had to do was get up off that ground and run to Aslan.  He did the rest.

He saved her.

Surely he will save you” (v2)

He covered her.

He will cover you with his feathers and under His wings you will find refuge.” (v3)

He protected her.

You will not fear the terror of the night

nor the arrows that fly by day

nor the pestilence of the night

nor the plague that destroys at midday..”

But, after their precious meeting in the middle of a battle, he sends Lucy back into the fight.  Then, somewhere along the way, she forgets these precious promises, again.

But, He pursues her.  And He makes Himself known right before the hardest battle of her life.

She loves Him and finally understands that she has to do as the Psalmist says in verses 9-12:

If you say “The Lord is my refuge and make the most High your dwelling place, no harm will overtake you, for I will command my angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift up their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone

Lucy loved him.  But, I can’t help but wonder if she viewed Aslan as unsafe.  She asked Him as much.  She must have examined the dichotomy between Him not being “safe” but still “good”.

That is where I often find myself. I find it difficult to reconcile a passage like Psalm 91 when it feels like I have lost both the battle and the war. Where is he?!  And will he save me like He has before?  Why isn’t He showing Himself to me?  So the words of Psalm 91 first cause unrest because it doesn’t seem true but then I get the “if/then” answer my scientific brain needs.

“Because he loves me” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him; for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him” (v14-15)

I do love Him.

That much is true.

But, he confuses me.

Sometimes the promises don’t seem true.

Lucy experienced a little of this same confusion.  Even though she had a real life physical moment with Aslan, when the battle got to an all time high, she didn’t even think to ask for help.

Yep, that sounds familiar.  I am exhausted from constantly striving to “figure it out” when it isn’t my job in the first place.

Finally, she felt the presence of Aslan as he stood beside Lucy right before an epic battle.  He walked across the bridge into battle with her. But, his presence wasn’t enough for her. One of the most beautiful cinematic scenes of the movie is Lucy and Aslan, walking the bridge into battle. Lucy is carrying her small knife, “just in case Aslan doesn’t have this thing”.

And I look in my own hand and I am tightly holding on to my own knife in battle, “just in case”—and He doesn’t chastise me, though I am sure it makes Him laugh.

I am pointed to the fulfilled promises of Psalm 91 played out on the silver screen, and in my own life.

He saved her, and He saved me.

He covered her, and He covers me.

He removed her fears, and He removes mine.

He slayed her enemies, and He slays mine.

He demonstrated justice, and He does the same for me.

All she had to do was dwell in his presence.

He did the rest.

As I think of the promises of Psalm 91, my mind always goes back to this movie and how it is a picture of the fulfilled promises of this Psalm that we love so much.  The book/movie also reminds me that I am human and that though it defies logic, I often feel the need to “help” Him with whatever version of my little knife.

There is such freedom in letting him fight the battle.  The kids of Narnia figured that out in the midst of battle.  They saw Aslan part waters, uproot trees and slay their enemies.  And in return, they were knighted kings and queens of Narnia.

But not everyone felt worthy of such an honor.  “Rise, you kings and queens of Narnia”, he said.  “ALL of you”

The promises of Psalm 91 are promises we all need.  We live in a world where hearts are broken, lives are devastated and God doesn’t seem to make sense.

At some point we have to put our knife away, stand in the shadow of His protection, and enjoy the comfort and kindness of His Love.

Getting to this place is one thing, staying there is an entirely different thing all together.

We need to call each other higher.

We need to rise, kings and queens of the Most High God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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