Posted: 5/17/20 at 4:00pm. Written by Cindy Elmore.
Psalm 91 conveys the themes of God’s protection and rescue from danger and is actually known in Jewish culture as the “song of plagues” because for “the one who recites it with faith in God will be helped by Him in time of danger.” Maybe that’s why this passage of scripture has meant so much to me throughout my son’s life and is now comforting as he graduates from high school with little or no pomp and circumstance.
While in the womb, tests indicated that our son had Down’s Syndrome. Writhing with anxiety, we went to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis. Just as we found out that the testing had a false positive, the doctor informed us that planes had just flown into the World Trade Center. At that moment, the shadow of His wings provided refuge.
When he was four years old, my son began attending preschool in Richmond, which meant a one-hour commute each way. The daily travel was due to his brother’s need to attend a school that specialized in teaching children with severe dyslexia. The staggering cost of his brother’s education placed a financial burden on the entire family. In those years, the shadow of His wings provided refuge.
When he was six years old, the housing crisis resulted in a 50 percent loss in the assets of my employer, John Randolph Foundation. The fallout was horrible, but the shadow of His wings provided refuge in those months.
At age 10, the only church that my son had ever known suffered a violent rift, but the shelter of His wings provided refuge in the storm.
When he turned 14, a health crisis suddenly took me out of work. In those weeks, the shelter of His wings provided refuge.
At age 15, his brother developed a rare disease. He became paralyzed within 24 hours and could not even open his eyes or take a breath without a ventilator. This led to five months of hospitalization in three medical facilities. During this extended trauma, the shelter of His wings provided refuge.
After 16 years of dealing with “bumps in the road,” my son and his brother attempted dual feats. They both were hospitalized with bacterial pneumonia, but in different hospitals. During another unpredictable medical crisis, the shelter of His wings provided refuge.
When my son was 17, his 30-year-old sister suffered near-fatal injuries in a car crash on the way home from work. She was taken by helicopter to a trauma center while my husband searched 12 hours to find her whereabouts. Once again, the shelter of His wings provided refuge.
During his senior year of high school at age 18, a pandemic struck the world. It obliterated his soccer season, senior mass media project, the prom, and even senior skip day.
Now, he works at a grocery store as an essential worker. When he participates in his drive-through graduation and deals with an uncertain future, surely the shelter of His wings will provide refuge. The promises nestled in Psalm 91 will keep him—and all of us—safe in troubling times!
Cindy Elmore is Director of Advancement for the Virginia Baptist Foundation.