Back in the 1950s, my family lived on the Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. My father was the Commander of a U.S. destroyer stationed there. Yearly, my mother would take the children (me, my brother and two sisters) back to Grandpa’s farm in Shuqualak, Mississippi, to spend a couple of weeks hunting, fishing, exploring the woods and all the adventurous things boys love to do. Little did we know that a far greater adventure awaited at our return. It just so happened, as we flew into the airport at Santiago that Castro’s forces were taking over the city. Upon landing, we were taken by rebel forces to a nearby motel. That night, we all laid on the floor instead of the bed for fear that bullets might come through the wall or window. There was no sleeping; it was a night full of terror.

My father wasted no time. As soon as he heard of our dilemma, he put on full military regalia, secured a government vehicle and drove over treacherous mountain roads to get to his family in distress. Arriving at the motel, he told us to crouch down on the floorboard behind the front seat. I will never forget the stony-faced rebels at various check-points, gripping their rifles tightly as they inspected our vehicle. Gazing suspiciously into the backseat area, they saw all of us huddled in fear, but then—miraculously—after looking at my father’s uniform and the American flag flying on the radio antenna, they waved us on.  

That day I learned a valuable lesson that imparted great wisdom to me later in life. Though I didn’t comprehend it at the time, there was a reason I and my siblings were treated with deference in a dangerous war zone—simply because we were under my father’s shadow. Because he was a man “under authority” (Luke 7:8), anyone under his authority partook of his benefits. See, there was an invisible chain of command surrounding him who lent their authority to him—from every admiral in the U.S. Navy, to the Chief of Staff in Washington, D.C., all the way up to the president of the United States himself. The rebels knew if they harassed my father they could potentially arouse an angry response from the multitude of military personnel who could be marshalled in a day’s time. They knew full well that the combined wrath of U.S. Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard could be unleashed against them. So because my father was “under the shadow” of their protection and we were “under the shadow” of his protection, our little hovel became a ‘safe place.’ Little ones, completely vulnerable on their own, were instead, amazing overcomers.

So it is with born again children of God. Jesus walked under the Father’s authority, and we, His submitted offspring, abide under His authority. We would be totally helpless and vulnerable in this evil world, but the Most High has surrounded us with His goodness and placed us in the “cleft of the Rock.” No weapon formed against us shall prosper and nothing shall by any means will harm us. We may face battles, pressures and disappointments in life as we pass through this ‘enemy territory,’ but we have a glorious promise:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High (El Elyon) shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty (El Shaddai)” (Psalms 91:1).

Yes, when we make Him the “Most High,” His almightiness overshadows us to protect and defend!

- Mike Shreve

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