Dwelling is an interesting word. As opposed to ‘living somewhere’, it seems to take on a greater connotation – that you live with someone, as a family member or in close friendship. There is no sense of aloneness, because a dwelling is usually a home; a place to habitually abide in. To dwell alone speaks of our desire to not be alone – the urge to make a home, a place to dwell. At the same time there is a nuance in the word dwell of a pause in time. Great musicians produce beauty from the dwell on a note. Of far greater effect is music that dwells on a silence. Comedians who dwell on such silences often produce the funniest moments.
Psalm 91 starts
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
Here is not just a dwelling place but our relationship with God. If we accept him as a refuge and fortress, he is the one who protects us even from the deadly pestilence and the entrapment of the material and the senses. Here is dependence and a need: to rely on God the almighty and the need for a saviour, Jesus, a friend. Even in death there is a dwelling place in the mansions that Jesus said he was going to prepare for his disciples.
Taking time to dwell becomes an important place of safety for our mental health. The shadows of this world are deepened and held at bay by the shadow protection of God, like a child walking in the hot sun holding a parent’s hand. It is a shadow that stays close and covers us from the shadows that pass over us like fleeting clouds. It is the difference between the disturbing strobe effect that trees create on a bright sunny day as you drive along a country lane and the deep cool shadow of an immovable rock.
Find a real solace, a pause in the spinning universe, a one who is greater than the problems we face and dwell there a while……