Today’s Truth

The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand (Psalm 121:5 NIV).

Friend to Friend

The sun’s intensity pushed me toward any shaded spot I could find. We were just south of the Judean desert, close to the Dead Sea, in Israel. And it was H-O-T, fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk hot. From the heights of Masada, we were able to see for miles. Beige and brown. An eye-full of arid. Heights and depths. Dust and dirt. Almost no life, save that of a few date palms. The smatterings of shade I found made the desert heat less draining and more bearable, but those pockets of reprieve were hard to come by.

The writer of Psalm 102 was looking for shade as well. (Pause now to read Psalm 102 in its entirety if possible!)

“My heart is suffering, withered like grass; I even forget to eat my food.
Because of the sound of my groaning, my flesh sticks to my bones.
I am like an eagle owl, like a little owl among the ruins.
(Psalm 102:4-6).

The psalmist wanted a reprieve from the scorching heat of discouragement, pain, toxic relationships and unrest. He felt abandoned by God. Forgotten. Crushed. Broken in spirit and body.

I’ve walked through some arid, scorching deserts of life over the years too. The agony of watching my dad suffer from cancer was excruciating. Feelings of helplessness bullied the faith I fought to hang on to. Questions led the dialog in my mind. Gone were the days of plenty. Gone were the days of strength. The desert of my dad’s suffering was brutal and cruel.

And as much as I hated the distress and desolation cancer brought to my family, I held tight to the provision and compassion of God.

Psalm 102 is an honest cry for help from a hurting human. The author was in a major life pit. A depressing, broken place of agony. And he threw down quite the lament as he poured out his pain before God. After emptying his heart of angst, however, we see a major change take place when he shifted from focusing on his challenges to focusing on his Creator.

25 “Long ago you established the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will endure; all of them will wear out like clothing. You will change them like a garment, and they will pass away.
27 But you are the same, and your years will never end.”
(Psalm 102:25-27).

Ah! I see this and take note.

When shade is scarce and pockets of reprieve are hard to come by, we can find comfort and strength knowing that our unchanging God is active, responsive and merciful. “The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand” (Psalm 121:5 NIV).

We can rest in the promise that the One who laid the foundations of the earth in the beginning remains the same and will one day make all things new for those who know and love Him.

Let’s Pray

Compassionate Creator, Thank You for being my Shade in every desert. You hear me and are responsive even in times when I feel forgotten, discouraged and abandoned. Help this truth inform my heart and hope.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 

What has you desperate for shade today? How does it encourage you to know that God will shield you from pains and strains when you call out to Him as your Shade?

Let’s pray together today. Meet us in the comments section to share your heart and pray for one another.

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14 Responses to “When Shade is Scarce”

  1. Beth says:

    Dear Lord,

    You know that I am tired. You know that I’ve had a sick kiddo for three weeks and now a mom who’s back in the hospital and is facing losing her independence and having to go to an assisted living facility. You also know that as a school leader this year I am doing my absolute best to make life easier on my teachers and take care of our students at the same time. But, Lord…I am tired…like bone tired like the Psalmist wrote. Please lift some of these burdens. I am laying everything at YOUR feet. My fear and anxiety is high and I know that only through the lifting up on my eyes to you that I can get relief. And dear Lord, be with my blood sister as she travels this path with our mom.

    I know YOU have a plan for all this suffering in our world, Lord. Please help us to rely on each other as believers so that we may be YOUR hands and feet until you return. Thank you for sites like this that help to fortify us as we keep going one day at a time.

    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

    • Avatar photo Gwen Smith says:

      Amen. Praying this with you and for you, Beth. Praying that the strength, peace and wisdom of our LORD will surround you in and through all you and your family are going through.

      Blessings in Christ,

  2. julie says:

    Prayers for you, Beth! I work as a teacher so I understand and appreciate your work that you do to help teachers. All the while having a sick child and parent who needs you. Prayers for strength and endurance. I can relate to so much you said.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Father in heaven, almighty king. My heart seeks your guidance. Mom is in the hospital as dialysis does not seem to be working and most avenues have been exhausted. She has stopped eating or taking meds & given up as she is tired. Help me make the right decision to place her on hospice so she can get the compassionate care she deserves. Enable me to do this with your peace & strength as I do this alone from a distance. Grant me an opportunity to travel to see her to love on her within the next 2 weeks. May your presence be felt like never before.

    • Avatar photo Gwen Smith says:

      Oh, Stephanie! I’m so sorry. I’ve been where you are with a struggling parent needing hospice from far away. Praying your mom gets the assistance she needs and that you are able to get to her physically as soon as possible. Also praying the peace and comfort of our LORD will hold you every step of the way.

      In Christ,

      PS. My husband and I own a senior home care agency in Charlotte, NC and we work closely with hospice companies. I believe wholeheartedly in the work they do and encourage you to reach out and get started with hospice if mom is open to it. Most people wait too long and don’t get the full support and benefit of hospice. What they do and the support they give is truly a blessing.

  4. Leslie says:

    God, I’m scared of the what if’s. I’m tired Lord, of being sick, of the care that is required to take care of my mom and dad, holding down the multiple jobs, not knowing the why I’m sick. It’s scary especially to a person that is prone to anxiety. I need your calm, your shade, your peace. I have no control of what the outcomes will be of the test/procedures but help me remember who you are. Thank you for all the joy I do have and I know you haven’t forgotten me.

    • Avatar photo Gwen Smith says:

      Leslie, Praying this with and for you! His is a peace – a perfect peace – that stands guard, protecting us from anxiety outside the doors of our hearts and minds. Asking Him now to be your Shade… your Peace… your Confidence and Courage. Your Hiding Place. Also asking Him to give you a heightened awareness of His presence, His power and His compassionate love for you. You are seen… and the Lord is crazy about you. Believe it and cling to it.

      Blessings and love,

  5. jennifer says:

    Beth and Stephanie,

    May God surround you with His strong arms and give you peace. Father, bless and comfort these 2 women and help them know that You are with them. Please help their mothers and just watch over these precious families. Àmen.

  6. Marilyn says:

    Beth and Stephanie I’m praying for your needs to be met, for comfort and peace.In Jesus Name amen

    My daughter Jessica has custody of A precious child and is loving every minute of it. But is struggling financially due to an abusive ex husband. Please pray for Christian friends to come along beside her and take her to church, she needs the support. and for God to provide for her financially. thank you. Marilyn.

  7. Wanda says:

    This Psalm spoke to me this morning. I have a problem that I don’t hear alot of folks talking about. My whole Christian life I have struggled. Instead of the abundant life promised by Jesus I am constantly worried that any minute God will take away my salvation.I know that God and Jesus are always Faithful and True so I know it is me who is broken and need fixing. I have had lots of rejection in my life and I have always felt less than everyone else. My faith will soar and I will feel like I have this beat and then I will be in the depths of despair again needing affirmation that I am still saved. I think I have always felt the need to work myself to death in service to the Lord to keep Him happy with me. As a kid I felt like this at home. That I always needed to DO things to deserve love. Not anything bad just like doing extra chores and such. I always feel like I have to do way more than everyone else to merit Gods favor. Its like a vicious cycle that I can’t seem to break free from. Please pray for me and if you have any words of wisdom I would love to hear them. I thank God for leading me to GIG. Every devotion I read seems just for me . I appreciate the work you all do.

  8. JoAnn says:

    Dear Lord,
    Please be with my grandson, who is 18 months old, Colton, today, when he has his ultra sound of his neck for the lumps found.
    I ask that you please have mercy on him, and allow him to be healthy, and the lumps be nothing more than a cyst,band not lymphoma or any other type of cancer.
    In your precious name I ask, and thank you for this wonderful blessing named Colton Maverick.

  9. Debra says:

    Praying for everyone this day on this website, I too have had some issues and God, through his son Jesus has helped me so much. Pray, pray, pray. It really is the true answer.

  10. B says:

    My heart hurts for the families who lost their loved ones in a tragic marine ancident 3 weeks ago. This happened im mu country Trinidad and Tobago. There was one survivor who gave an account of what happened at sea and his last conversations with the men who perished.
    Although I don’t know any of the victims I feel heart broken. I can only imagine the hurt the families are experiencing. My only comfort is that the survivor said he encouraged the men to pray while they were trying to evacuate the pipeline they were trapped in.
    I don’t know how not yo

  11. B says:

    I don’t know how not to think about that accident and what those men went through while trying to escape.

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