the umbrella


“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”

~Ps. 91:1-2 ESV

Today was a rainy day and my umbrella is broken. I could not find an inauspicious umbrella to use, so I chose to go without. Throughout the course of the day, my friend lent me one from the lost and found collection at her workplace. I was walking along the rainy city streets with it, happily protected from the wind and rain, remembering the lessons of how to properly use an umbrella learned from my grandfather as a small child during a very wet and seemingly endless walk.

In college, an umbrella was a necessary commodity as nearly every day had a 60 percent chance of rain.

I remember all the beautiful parasols the women used in China to guard their skin from the sun.

All these random memories flash before my eyes as I think of the word; however, I have one memory that is more dear than all.

During the summers after my sophomore and junior years, I had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe with a team. We were a musical team, and we were able to sing in many churches, town squares, halls, etc. We were mostly in German speaking countries. Each year, our first stop was during the Pentecost holiday and we would stay the weekend in a small Swiss village. The conference center we were at had an older Swiss gentleman in charge. The team was always treated with incredible generosity and we never left without receiving a gift and a challenge.

The first year we were given a red and white umbrella to remember our trip. The umbrella was to remember Switzerland (that’s why it was red and white) and to remember Psalm 91:1-2. What do umbrellas have to do with that passage? In the English translation, nothing. But in German, verse one is this:

“Wer unter dem Schirm des Höchsten sitzt und unter dem Schatten des Allmächtigen bleibt,”

and the word, “schirm” also translates to English as “umbrella.”

This was a great reminder to me today, because the drama of Ps. 91:1-2 often is not something we think about. I mean, it’s not super dramatic, but shelter is a different word. It’s something Americans take for granted. But an everyday object like an umbrella is a great reminder that God is with us, not only in difficult times of trouble, but also when we face seemingly small annoyances like rain drops. I am thankful for the beautiful and different way, God allowed me to see this verse.



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