Several years ago, I began to picture myself in the guarded fortress of God’s care as a way to help my fear and anxiety. I had just read the Hebrew verb for “guards” (shamar) that appears most notably in Psalm 97:10 and Psalm 121 where we meet God as the One who keeps us, watches over us, protects us, and rescues us from harm. How would my relationship to Jesus change if I better understood His guarding care? And was there a way for me to actually picture this deep care of my soul, especially when my external circumstances brought suffering or chaos?
As I searched the Psalms for the images the biblical writers themselves used to recall God’s guarding care, I loved how over 15 times in the Psalms alone, we see how the writers viewed God as their fortress. Suddenly, I felt stronger inside as I proclaimed, as David did, that “[God] alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:2) and that “the Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety” (Psalm 18: 2).
Picture this fortress of God’s guarding care, this place of safety and power. No matter what’s happening around us, we know our souls remain firmly in the guarding and protective care of the Lord at all times. Nothing can harm our guarded soul. Nothing can disturb this inner fortress of peace.
As I grew in my identity as guarded by Christ, I kept a beautiful quote in my purse from devotional writer Hannah Whitall Smith from the 1800’s. She, too, was learning about God’s guarding care. She wrote, “Plenty of outward discomforts there may be, and many earthly sorrows and trials, but through them all the soul that knows God cannot but dwell inwardly in a fortress of perfect peace.”
I think about God guarding my soul, and I stay in that fortress of perfect peace.
Read more about God’s guarding care in Guarded by Christ: Knowing the God Who Rescues and Keeps Us (Moody, 2016)