In late January I was burdened with the COVID-19 crisis in China. As I was praying for the devastating situation, surprisingly, I found myself asking God to put a shield around me, my family, and my community. Two months later, this pandemic quickly moved to the U.S. and I realized it was a Spirit-led prayer at a time when few were expecting the pandemic could be a great threat to many around the world. The image of a shield has been back to my mind often, especially during these past several weeks when we saw dramatic changes in daily life. What does this shield look like and what does it do for us?
“Take cover!” That is the action that soldiers are often commanded to take when they face great danger in wars. Currently, God is providing a shield for us with “social distancing” and “staying at home”. Although this changes our life dramatically and creates many new challenges and inconveniences, it provides us perhaps the best protection and even rest.
Besides being thankful for the walls of our home that serve as shields in this pandemic, we also need to remind ourselves that God is the ultimate shelter, refuge and shield. Psalm 91 is full of such wonderful promises: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty (verse 1)” and “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (Verse 4).”
How amazing it is that God promises His faithfulness as our shield! Again and again in the Psalms, we are encouraged to rely on God’s faithfulness for protection, especially in difficult times (Psalms 26:3, 40:11, 86:11 etc.).
Actually it is in His faithfulness that God afflicted us (Psalms 119:75). This truth will free us from the temptation of being bored, anxious, angry, depressed, and even despair because as children of God, we know for certain that our sovereign and compassionate God holds the world in His hands. He cares deeply about our daily bread as well as the eternal welfare of mankind. After all, He has paved the way for His children to heaven through Jesus’s resurrection after His death on the cross.
As Easter is approaching, let us remember that death has been swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54b) and pray that many lost souls will find rest and protection in the shield that our loving heavenly Father has promised.