Wings and Mothers


“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge…” Psalm 91:4 NKJV

Today is Mother’s Day! Mothers provide us with our earliest experiences of love and safety.  Years ago, I read a wonderful description of the love and security that our souls find when we make the Lord – Who created mothers – our dwelling place. In this post, I have included an excerpt from that book ‘The God of all Comfort’ by Hannah Whitall Smith in an abridged form.

“It is of vital importance, then, that we should find out definitely where our souls are living. The Lord declares that He has been our dwelling place in all generations, but the question is,

Are we living in our dwelling place?

The truth is, our souls are made for God. He is our natural home, and we can never be at rest anywhere else. How shall we describe this living dwelling place? David describes it when he says: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress…” We all know what a fortress is. It is a place of safety, where everything that is weak and helpless can be hidden from the enemy and kept in security. “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me…”

In the “secret of God’s tabernacle” no enemy can find us, and no troubles can reach us. The “pride of man” and the “strife of tongues” find no entrance into the “pavilion” of God. The “secret of his presence” is a more secure refuge than a thousand Gibraltars. I do not mean that no trials come. They may come in abundance, but they cannot penetrate into the sanctuary of the soul, and we may dwell in perfect peace even in the midst of life’s fiercest storms…

Our idea of a fortress is generally of a hard, granite building, where one would be safe, perhaps, but also at the same time sadly uncomfortable. But there are other sorts of fortresses that are soft, and tender, and full of comfort; and this psalm describes them.

“He shall cover thee with his feathers,” just as the mother hen covers her little helpless chickens in the fortress of her warm, brooking wings. The fortress of a mother’s heart, whether it be of a human mother, or a hen mother, or a tiger mother, is the most impregnable fortress the world knows, and yet the tenderest. And it is this sort of a fortress that the Lord is. “Under his wings shalt thou trust”: “He shall carry them in his bosom”; “underneath are the everlasting arms.”

Wings, bosom, arms! What blessed fortresses are these! And how safe is everything enfolded by them. Nature is full of such fortresses. We have all seen these mother fortresses hundreds of times, and have called them Godlike. And one would think that the sight would have made us fly to our refuge in the dwelling place of God, and leave outside all fear! But the trouble is, we point-blank refuse to believe that the Bible means any such good news.

Not in words, perhaps, but in effect, we say, “The Lord’s arms are not so dependable as the strong, loving arms of the weakest earthly mother; the Lord’s bosom is not as tender as the tiger’s bosom; the Lord’s wings are not as brooding as the wings of the little mother hen. We know that all these beautiful earthly fortresses are made and fashioned by Him, but we cannot believe that He Himself is equal to them…” And so mothers are trusted, and God is not!

…But you may ask here how you are to get into this divine dwelling place.

To this I answer that you must simply move in. If a house should be taken for us by a friend, and we were told it was ready, and that the lease and all the necessary papers were duly attested and signed, we should not ask how we could get into it—we should just pack up and move in.

And we must do the same here.

God says that He is our dwelling place, and the Bible contains all the necessary papers, duly attested and signed. And our Lord invites us, nay more, commands us to enter in and abide there. In effect He says, “God is your dwelling place, and you must see to it that you take up your abode there. You must move in.”

But how, you ask, how can I move in? You must do it by faith.

God has said that He is your dwelling place, and now you must say it too… Faith takes up the Word of God, and asserts it to be true. Christ says, “Abide,” and we must say, “I will abide.” Thus we “make him our habitation” by faith. He is our habitation already, as to His side of it; but we must make Him so, as to our side of it, by believing that He is, and by continually asserting it.

Coleridge says:
Faith is an affirmation and an act, that bids eternal truth be present fact.

And we must make the eternal truth that the Lord is our dwelling place become present fact by the affirmation of our faith, and by putting on the thoughts and actions that would naturally result from having moved into the tabernacle of God.

And one of the first things we would have to do would be to give up forever all worry and anxiety. It is unthinkable that worry and anxiety could enter into the dwelling place of God; and when we enter there, we must leave them behind…”

From chapter 8 (The Lord Our Dwelling Place) of ‘The God of All Comfort’ by Hannah Whitall Smith.

“Thank you God for mothers. Through the wonderful mothers You gave, we learnt so much about Your tender love, care and protection. They taught us to trust in You. For this we will be ever grateful to them and to You.” 


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