Dwelling in the Shelter of the Most High

Today has been a difficult day for me. I am not a person who is very much at home with outward displays of emotion, yet nearly everyone I’ve met today has hugged me and told me, “We’re praying for your family.” In spite of the awkwardness, I am so thankful for the way that God is surrounding us with His saints, who are so determined to show us love in a variety of ways.

Kathy is in Minnesota, helping to care for her Dad, at the Mayo Clinic. Bill continues in very poor health — the doctors still do not have a firm diagnosis for him. Hopefully tomorrow the batteries of scheduled tests will shed some light on the situation. Here in Washington, we watch and pray, checking text messages and Facebook for updates, dreading news yet thirsting for any certainty.

Kathy referenced Psalm 91 in one of her texts, which begins this way:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

We are continually reminded that we rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Whatever happens in Kathy’s Dad’s body, God will be glorified. And so we watch and pray some more.

In the midst of all this, life continues. We went to church, and I taught most of a Sunday School class. My parents came over after church, and we celebrated my Dad’s 74th birthday. It was very pleasant to connect with my parents again, and to watch my Dad guess each of his gifts before he unwrapped them. He also makes a big deal of saving the wrapping paper, presumably a holdover from his childhood on the heels of the Great Depression. We enjoyed an ice cream pie together and had a sweet time of prayer together for Kathy’s Dad.

Seventy-Four, and Still Silly
We made him blow out the candles twice, as is our custom.

It is hard not to feel guilty or shallow when the normal things of life interpose themselves in front of our concern for Granddad. And yet, I don’t think God wants us to wallow in fear or worry. Where is the balance? How much time do we focus on prayer for the healing of our beloved one, and how much do we go on with life? If we are able to trust easily, does it mean we don’t care about Granddad? If sorrow and tears predominate, does it mean we don’t trust God?

Last night, Daniel pulled out one of his last baby teeth, after much wiggling, in the Albertson’s parking lot. Back at home, he asked me:

“What should I do with it?”

“Put it in a little ziploc bag,” I suggested, not sure where this was going.

Later, as he was heading to bed, he asked me where he should put it.

“Why, do you still believe in the Tooth Fairy?” I raised my eyebrows at him.

I thought it would be funny to see how he answered that question. As an almost-14-year-old, he certainly couldn’t claim a belief in the Tooth Fairy, especially since Kathy and I are not particularly careful to perpetuate such childhood myths. Yet he clearly wanted to be paid for the tooth — I was eager to see his angle.

“No, but I believe in … Money!” Daniel gave me a big, cheesy grin, dangling the ziploc bag suggestively.

The Tooth Fairy is a bit notorious in our household. It is not unusual for kids to place hopeful teeth under their pillows for days at a time before attracting her notice.

“Times are hard,” I tell them, when they complain about their tooth being overlooked. “She is probably working the East coast this week — I hear there was a hockey tournament last weekend, and the poor Tooth Fairy is just swamped. Hang in there, maybe tonight will be your lucky night.”

When I checked on David and Daniel before I went to bed, I was amused to see that Daniel left nothing to chance. On his desk just beside the door, he placed his tooth (in its sanitary little bag), and left a note with an arrow, pointing at the tooth: “Right here, Tooth Fairy!! X marks the spot!” Around the tooth, he bent a glowstick into a circle, literally highlighting the tooth for even the most nearsighted of fairies.

Tooth Fairy-ing for Dummies
Apparently Daniel has no high regard for the intelligence of the Tooth Fairy.

Naturally, the Tooth Fairy made no visit that night. I want my children to learn to be persistent, and to persevere. As Paul told the Romans:

Let us also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. — Romans 5:3-5

It warmed my heart to watch Daniel’s silliness, and to have something to laugh about.

Pie with Grampa
… and a piece of ice cream pie with Reese’s cup pieces and an Oreo crust never goes amiss.

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6 thoughts on “Dwelling in the Shelter of the Most High”

  1. You ask some good questions….ones I’ve been pondering myself, Timothy. In the grief there is hope and it does not disappoint! As you said …. God will be glorified.

    So thankful that your parents where there with you today – 74!! Happy Birthday, Mr. Edgren! :)

    Laughing on the floor hysterical on the tooth fairy front – our tooth fairy is SUPER lame-o at times, too. It’s quite IMPRESSIVE the excuses we offer on her behalf! Hmph…..she should be paying us, too! :)

  2. Thank you for this post, Uncle. Fun, encouraging, practical. By a strange providence, a friend and I were meditating/praying over Romans 5:3-5 on Saturday, and it’s sort of been “my” verse for the last few days.

  3. Able to trust easily does NOT mean lack of care, though we – in concern for others’ opinions – often fear that they will ‘think’ we don’t care. Tears and sorrow don’t mean we don’t trust our Father, only that we are closely tied to this loved one. As long as the mind and heart know, and words and deeds confirm, that under our sorrow is sure confidence in the Lord’s sovereign right and loving care, we needn’t fear that we aren’t trusting. And while our trust in Him brings peace and quiet of soul and a listening & watchful care for the sufferer and our other loved ones, we can remember Jesus knows our sorrows, designed us to live in close loving fellowship with each other, and has compassion on our pain. He knows it so well He came to die so that in our pain we can have hope. Hope sustains in the difficulty, but doesn’t erase it.

    We must focus on loving our dear ones and trusting our Father, who alone knows and does what is perfect and right, and not on our feelings or how we appear to others.

    It takes such energy and thought to stay on top of all the medical staff and be sure they are held accountable for good care, and be sure they are communicating well to the family, and equal energy to care well for her and each other, that we need to be able to cast our burdens on the Lord, for He cares for us.

    Continuing to pray for the presence of Jesus like a rock in the very room with them, His Spirit breathing hope and strength and peace into each one. As you said, Tim, God WILL be glorified.

  4. Thanks for this reminder Tim. Praying, worrying, praying, and remembering no matter what, God is good.
    Love you Brother from a different mother.

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