Last week I finished my final paper for the semester... always a relief! The studying I've been doing this year has been almost entirely focused on detailing our vision for The Butterfly Project, which is both amazing and a bit stressful. I think these courses would be a bit easier if it wasn't so real and personal.
The course I just completed was all about human development. The first part of the course focused on all the different theories of development and working towards an integration between psychology and theology. I think most of the students, including myself, found this to be a challenge since most of us have grown up in a world where psychology and theology have stood in opposition to each other.
Until recently, I had lots of research to support respite, nature and art as effective responses to families who have experienced a crisis but other than knowing God has inspired these ideas within me and knowing God is in the business of healing, I didn't think I would find much of a theological basis for the specifics of what we want to do here. Boy was I wrong.
It turns out the Psalms are full of prayers for relief, rescue, and the need for a safe place to go. A couple of examples from my paper: Psalm 31:1,20 says, “In You, Lord, I have taken refuge; Let me never be put to shame; In Your righteousness rescue me… You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of mankind; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.” Psalm 32:7 declares, “You are my hiding place; You keep me from trouble.” and another example in Psalm 82:4, “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” And a well-known lyric from Psalm 91, "under His wings you may take refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and wall.”
Commentator Konrad Schaefer offers some additional insight to the protection spoken of further in Psalm 91. He explains, “the expressions “near your tent” and “all your ways” the poet claims that God protects any sojourner who inhabits or traverses danger zones. Divine protection is articulated by two motifs, shelter, and path. A well-protected, inaccessible shelter means help, shade, wings, shield, and immunity. The temple is an image of a secure relation with God, the best guarantee against any threat. The complement to this is the path for which God sends a special escort.”
I remember 12 years ago when we left our home, we were escaping to what I called "our cottage in Egypt", likening it to the angel who visited Joseph and told him Jesus was in danger. They needed to get up and get out of Bethlehem right away. It appears the choice we made had a more biblical footing. then we realized. My paper which I have included, scratches a bit more of the surface - there is more here to discover I think!