Safely Shadowed Under His Wings

A shadow, long and wide, interrupted the sunshine for just a moment and then glided over the bright green foliage. My grandson and I squinted into the blue above us. We saw the outstretched wings of a big black hawk as it soared above the trees. It’s shadow slithered over us.

For just a moment we stood under the shadow of those heavenly wings. It was…kind of magnificent. 

An old hymn sang in my mind, 

Under His wings I am safely abiding

Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,

Still I can trust Him—I know He will keep me,

He has redeemed me and I am His child. (William Cushing 1823-1902) 

I wonder if the author, William Cushing, had a similar experience. He was seventy-three years old when he wrote the hymn. He began his ministry when he was eighteen, but before he was fifty, paralysis took his voice. Forced to retire from the pastorate, Cushing asked God to give him a new ministry. And God did. In the remaining years of his life he wrote over 300 hymns.

 King David’s words inspired the hymn, Under His Wings.  

     “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 17:8 ESV)

A shadow represented refuge for David, a place of protection and safety from those wanting to kill him. The symbolism repeats in the Psalms as David rejoices to dwell under the shelter of the Almighty. Under His wings meant a hiding place of trust, hope, and protection. 

Out in the sheep fields, under the hot sun, shadow brought relief. From shepherd boy to King, David longed for shadow’s refuge. He needed a haven. 

God has provided people who took me under their wing so many times. We found a haven when we were in the throes of culture shock. A dear Italian family took us in for Sunday dinners even though we couldn’t communicate. When we walked through the valley of the shadow of death, there were those who took us under their wings and walked with us. And at times in our lives, even reproof gave protection and provided care.  

For King David, “under His wings” also referred to a place free of falsehood and treachery. 

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”  (Psalm 57:1 ESV)

Jesus came offering protection, warmth and comfort. The Jewish nation had longed for this, but they didn’t recognize Him. His heart longed to restore the intimacy and closeness which sin had robbed, but they were not willing. This is the backstory as He looked over Jerusalem, the city of David, and spoke these anguished words; 

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37 ESV) 

These are under-His-wings days. I mourn as I hear and watch tensions erupt in the world. Far too easily my dwelling places are spaces filled with fear, unsafe and unstable. 

But Jesus offers a place at His side, under His wings. He calls me to rest where His Presence covers me. 

Under His wings, under His wings

Who from His love can sever?

Under His wings my soul shall abide,

Safely abide forever.

Jesus offers a place at His side, under His wings. He calls me to rest where His Presence covers me Click To TweetWhen storms of life threaten and the inquietude of angry voices rip into our peace, He invites us to make our nest under His wings, to find refuge in His Word, and a home in His Presence. To look upward. He invites us to make our nest under His wings Click To Tweet

My grandson and I stand together in the back yard. A giant shadow, melts over the lawn and the canopy of green trees above us. For just a few seconds we are covered with its dark outstretched image.

He raises his blue eyes and searches mine, but we are both quiet, still like the smooth flight of the bird above us. 

I lift my arm, and move closer to shelter him underneath. Together we turn our faces upward and shield our eyes. High above, the hawk sweeps a broad curve to return. We wait. And when it’s shadow glides over us, I am awed to know we stand under the shadow of much Greater wings. 


*Feature Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

6 Replies

  1. Maureen de Haan Reply

    Beautiful thankyou
    Can just picture this especially with your precious grandson
    God Bless🙏

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Maureen! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Grandsons are pretty special!

  2. Nancy Ruegg Reply

    Praise God for the shelter of his presence! And what perfect imagery you describe here, Sylvia (beautifully too!), when that hawk soared above you and your grandson. That experience has the potential to be a precious memory the two of you share, given its significance. P.S. I remember that old hymn too! Thank you for bringing back to mind those comforting lyrics.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Nancy! It is a comforting thought to be sheltered under His wings. I am lad for His reminder! Thanks so much for reading it and responding!

  3. Martha Hancock Reply

    I enjoy your blog very much. I thought I would make you aware that the link from your email results in it being blocked by my anti-malware software as being a carrier of adware. I’ve been accessing your blog articles through my browser instead.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I am so sorry Martha for the problem, thanks for letting me know. Please if there are others having issues, let me know. If this doesn’t clear up, Martha, feel free to mention it again. And, thank you so for your kind words!