Every Thought Captive

Under His Umbrella

He will cover you with His pinions,
    and under His wings you will find refuge;
    His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

Psalm 91:4

We’ve had some sketchy weather this Texas spring. My boots and jackets have stayed in the forefront of my closet much longer than usual, and April is only half-done. Umbrellas stand by my front door ready to be grabbed. I feel like spring has barely sprung.

Truth be told, I’d rather not grab an umbrella. I’d like to be more of a I-can-run-really-fast-and-probably-get-only-a-little-damp kind of girl, but I’m not. My strategy rarely works out well for me. I’m slow, uncoordinated, and more likely to trip and fall into a puddle than avoid one, and this unfortunate willfulness does not stop with thunderstorms or torrential downpours.

When Trey and I were praying through and throwing around the idea of moving to West Dallas to be residents of the inner-city community where Mercy Street was being established, we were not exactly on the same page. In fact, one of us was throwing around the idea and one of us was possibly throwing things—metaphorically speaking, of course.

I had a decent idea of what a good, sensible decision looked like—and this did not look like one—to me. I was afraid Trey was making a mistake in the direction he believed the Lord was calling our family, so I took it upon myself to assert my role as the “helper” in an attempt to explain how the Lord couldn’t possibly be calling us to something so crazy.

You see, I loved my husband, but even after six (good) years into our marriage, I hadn’t learned submission. I hadn’t learned to put myself underneath what the Rev. Paul Settle referred to as “his umbrella.” In my husband, the Lord has given me a covering and a protection. And guess what I found out? He was right. Although I may not always see what the Lord is doing clearly, He has ordained for me a shield, and I am far safer under it than outside of it. So I have learned over the years to place myself and my family under the leadership of my husband. Not perfectly, not without sometimes dragging my heels or gritting my teeth or asking the Lord if He’s “real sure,” but that one experience showed me that my husband is a reflection of Christ, who scripture calls our Head, our Covering, our Robe, our Shield, our Armor, our Rampart, and our ever-present Help. Indeed He calls us all to come under the shelter of His mighty embrace.

Our kids have heard that story more than a few times, because until they are launched into the world on their own, they have been given an umbrella of protection in their dad and me. As adolescence tempts them to rebellion and general snarky-ness, we’ve reminded them that they, too, are far safer under our authority than outside of it.

And somewhere behind the eye rolls, I trust the Lord is showing Himself faithful.

By design, we are all given different umbrellas at different stages of our lives. The Lord, in His generous grace, gives us parents, spouses, or simply Himself. He provides a covering we can tuck under when the winds rage, the rain falls, and even when the sun shines so brightly we need the shade. And seeking, resting, and delighting in this covering is not weakness—in it is the power of God.

The anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s death was a few days ago. Bonhoeffer, who, as he was martyred, was described by a prison doctor as “entirely submissive to the will of God,” understood the covering he had been given in Christ. So as I write with chilly storms casting another shadow over our spring day, I pray that we will learn to love the umbrellas the Lord has ordained for us. Dear friends, take shelter and live boldly in that gifted space.

About the Author

Photograph of Melissa Hill

Melissa Hill

Melissa Hill serves alongside her husband, Trey, and their four children, in inner-city ministry in Dallas, Texas. Their lives are full to overflowing with beautiful stories of rescue, redemption, and roaring laughter. When she can sneak in some spare time, she writes about it all on her blog, A Long Way From the Theta House.