“He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (KJV).
My father grew up a faithful Episcopalian saying his prayers on his knees every night even as a grown man. His mother took credit for instilling such faith in her youngest son. He passed that faith on to me.
It began when he invited me as a young girl to join him at the early church service at our home church, Trinity Episcopal in Baton Rouge. It began at 7:30 a.m. and was over in 30 or 40 minutes. We entered in silence, me wearing my lace head cover and he a coat and tie. He always held the doors for me and walked down the aisle with me. He bowed his head and I curtsied toward the brass cross sitting on the alter in the chancel. He entered the pew pulling down the kneeler, the wooden padded bench for our knees to rest on in prayer. We silently prayed and sat down on the pew.
There was no music, no singing, and no sermon. But there was a beautiful magical service of hearing God’s Word from both the Old Testament and then from the Gospels of the New Testament. The best part of the service was celebrating the Lord’s Supper. I never left one of those Sunday morning worship services without feeling closer to God than I was the day before.
Sometime during that time of my life, I forgot to look for God and began to realized God was already with me inside my heart. I would seek out quiet places to talk to God such as a fig tree in a garden on my way home from school, or swinging on the front porch of my house, standing by my open bedroom window listening to the rain fall between the branches of the cedar tree just outside.
As I grew older, I took my relationship with God another step by asking advice when I needed help. That may sound childish or silly, but it always worked. At first appearance one might say I had a lot of coincidences in my life, but were they? The word coincidence is related mathematically to the idea of angles that coincide. When two angles meet this way, they do so perfectly. When I got my answers was it a coincidence or God working through me perfectly?
For example, I might have a problem with a simple decision to go out with boy or not (when and if he asked). Turning it over to God did two things. First it freed me up from stressing over whether to say yes or no and second when I woke up the next day and had my answer, I was thrilled. Today, they call this letting go and letting God.
The secret place of the most high is not a place but a state of mind. For we can talk to God anywhere whether it’s in church, on the side of the road, on a noisy playground at school, or closed off in your room listening to the rain filled with the sweet scent of cedar.
As an adult this line in Psalm 91 came to mean something else to me. My future husband was being shipped off to who knew where during the Viet Nam era and I was beside myself with concern for his safety. Then one day, his dear sweet grandmother, we called MyMy, Rachel Richardson Metcalf, wrote me a beautiful letter. She told me that I was not alone in my love for her grandson that I should read Psalm 91 every night before going to bed and my fears would be eased. It did not take me long to memorize the sixteen verses.
To live eternally in the household of God, I am living out my calling to be like God – with power, wisdom, love, and intelligence. I give thanks to my Father for giving me the opportunity to dwell in the household of the God with him, to respect me enough teach me early on that God and I are one.
And to this day, I live in faith that I, “Abide under the shadow of the Almighty” who also lives in me, as me, for all eternity.