As a visual learner and reader, even a bible verse may create a mental image in my mind’s eye.  As I was reading Psalm 91:7, the mental image caused a pause, but first the verse:

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 

The mental image was the view of a thousand people on my left side, dead, dying, ill, along with ten thousand on my right side.  Death, illness, hopelessness on the left and right of my path.  As I saw this image, I asked, “How does this NOT come near me?”  As humans we feel other’s suffering.  This is the reason we send a card to someone who is ill or lost a loved one.  This is the reason we go visit someone when sorrow moves into their lives.  This is the reason we show up for funerals.  We feel what they might be feeling, and we know that our turn is coming for the suffering. 

Back to my question, “how does this NOT come near me?”  I took this question and my personal reality into my prayer time.  It sounded something like this: 

Lord, this type of pain and destruction does come near me.  Honestly, it comes right into my being.  What are you saying in this text?

As I listened, I sensed that pain and suffering cannot destroy nor even come near the holy space where God and I dwell.  For example, when we pray, we turn towards God and open both mind and heart to God, right there – that holy space is protected from the external world of destruction on my left and right hand. 

You are invited, by opening your heart and mind to God, to unearth your inner space where God and you reside.  This interior space or place is yours – in death and in life, in peace and in war time, in love and hate.  This interior space is untouched by difficulties.    Come, explore, with God your holy interior space.  Come, find your resting place where you and God dwell.