Under God's Wing
George Everard, 1871
"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed." Psalm 57:1
A single thought from God's own blessed Word may cheer the Christian through many a dark hour. Here is just such a one: the wing of the Almighty is my refuge, my shelter, my hiding-place. Under the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings shall you trust. It has often been a source of comfort to me when everything seemed to go wrong, to repeat to myself a few simple words telling of this safe resting place:
Retreat beneath His wings,
And in His grace confide;
This more exalts the King of kings
Than all your works beside.
Dear reader, may the wing of your Redeemer be likewise unto you a place of rest and safety! How condescending was our blessed Lord as He uttered over Jerusalem that sorrowful lamentation — O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone those who are sent unto you — how often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not.
Here is the high and lofty One, the Monarch of all worlds — pointing to the hen with her brood nestling beneath her wing, and bids Jerusalem see there an image of His own tender love. And it is written for our instruction. He is ever the same. He is as willing to gather together the outcasts now, as then. He is as ready to receive to His care the daughters of England, as the children of Jerusalem.
Have you been very rebellious, very disobedient? Still He has compassion. Jerusalem was in God's sight the guiltiest of all cities. She had killed her prophets, she had stoned God's messengers, she had abused her privileges, she had rejected the Savior who for three years had been pleading with her, and she was now about to crucify Him — yet He had compassion — He yearned to save her.
You too may be very guilty. A secret whisper may be heard, "You are too bad ever to be saved." Nay, it is not so. Your thoughts are not Christ's thoughts. He pities — He forgives — He saves to the uttermost. You may have been a mocker of Christ's people, you may have rejected His mercy times without number, you may have been a hypocrite — yet if now there is only in your heart a sense of your sin, and a turning towards Him — He will never cast you out.
But what will you find if you flee to the wing of Christ? You will find safety; you will be safe from condemnation and from wrath. When the rain and the hail are falling, and the young ones are sheltered under the mother's wing, the shower falls upon her, but it cannot touch them — not a drop of rain, not a particle of the driving hail can reach them. Even thus is it with Christ and His people. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. The storm fell on the head of our great Surety, when He died for us on the tree. Every portion of that wrath so justly due for our sins, He willingly endured for our sake, so that we in Him might be safe forever.
What a contrast will there be one day between those in Christ — and those out of Christ. In a fierce storm of wind and pelting rain, I have seen a poor homeless man seeking a moment's shelter near a covered doorway, but he was shortly obliged to turn away and go elsewhere, while all who lived there made haste to reach its friendly shelter. I have thought how thus in vain will men seek a shelter from the storm of wrath which will by and by descend upon our sinful world. How thankful then will those be who are safely hidden in Christ beyond the reach of danger!
But more than this: you will be safe from the power of the destroyer. How carefully does the mother guard her brood from any creature that might come near! To the utmost of her power, will she keep and protect them. And will not Jesus shield you when the enemy is near? You are sure to be tempted — Satan will never let you alone — he will endeavor in every way to turn you aside from the right path. But Jesus will keep you safe — He is able to do so. Though He compares Himself to the hen to signify His tender condescension — yet we read of Him also as the eagle, who flutters over her young. The eagle is the strongest bird — and Jesus is stronger than all the power of the enemy. "Their Redeemer is strong — the Lord Almighty is His name." Keep near to Jesus, abide in Him — and none shall be able to harm you.
But beneath the wing of Christ, you will find comfort as well as safety. The young birds find the warmth of the mother's wing — perhaps they have been shivering in the cold north wind, but then they go to the wing of the hen and they are happy.
In this world you will find many cold, chilling winds. Perhaps it will be the cutting, north wind of unkindness — those about you may be hard and unfeeling. They may not think of you, or speak a word that might help you in trouble. Or it may be the cold, north wind of disappointment, or poverty, or some other great trial.
But you may always find comfort in Jesus.
He will never be unkind.
He will never speak rough, harsh words to you.
He will never forget you.
He will never refuse to support you in your trials, whether they be small or great.
He can be touched by the feeling of your infirmities — He has Himself been often tempted, so that you may rely upon His aid. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:15-16
A lady once wrote to a friend about the loving-kindness she had found in Christ: "No one can tell how much I owe to the unkind words that have been spoken to me, for they always lead me to the Savior, and I never find unkindness in Him."
And whatever may be your sorrow or suffering, it will be still the same — Jesus will shed abroad in your heart a ray of hope and heavenly light.
An orphan girl in India was suffering intense pain. Her end seemed to be near, but Jesus was by her side. She was asked how she could endure all she had to bear. Settling her countenance, which had been contracted by sharp pain, she answered, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us." Thus did His presence strengthen and confirm her hope.
Oh, believe it, my young reader, if there is one truly happy spot in the whole universe it is here, and no where else — under the wing of Jesus.
You may seek it in vain in roaming from place to place; you may seek it in vain in changing your position; you may seek it in scenes of gaiety, and in what the world calls pleasure — and you will always be disappointed. But seek it in Jesus, and it shall be yours. Why will you delay? Shall He complain of you — How often would I have gathered you, and you would not?
Ah, these words will be changed one day! Now it is, "I would — you would not." Then it will be, "You would — I would not." "If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you — when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them!" Proverbs 1:23-32
The day of grace will be passed, only judgment will remain. You would give a world then if you had it, for a place under His wing — but you will only have a place before the Great White throne judgment!
Nay, my sister, let it not be thus. Embrace His free salvation — accept His loving call. Believe on Him, flee to Him — and you shall be safe in Him forever!
Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on You is stayed,
All my help from You I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Your wing.