Rop amlaid dínsiur cech sel, cech sáegul,
mar marb oc brénad, ar t’ fégad t’ áenur.
Be Thou my soul’s Shelter, be Thou my strong Tow’r,
This is complimentary with line 10 in that we are “in” Jesus; he is our conveyance. But a contrast as well in that these are stationary, defensive structures. To be in Jesus is to be at once capable of advance and offensive activity (sword and shield) yet simultaneously at rest, secure and protected (shelter and tower). This is yet another Gospel paradox.
Unless one can get comfortable with living in paradox, one will never get comfortable living in Jesus.
I experience this particular paradox most potently when it comes to confrontation or conflict. As a rule, I am more concerned with having people like me than I am with winning or getting what I want (though having people like me accomplishes both!). So I will avoid using any “offensive” weapons. I will not advance, be assertive or tell the truth if I think it will cost me affection. I want to stay in my Shelter – my tower. (We’re talking different personality types here…check out the Enneagram in advance of this weekends Sermon Series!)
Ironically, when I put my own needs first like this, it inevitably leads to a lack of peace and security (I am actually driven out of my shelter or tower) when the truth of a matter is finally revealed or long term resentments built over time and burst out. If you want peace and security, you must be ready to advance with sword and shield sometimes.
Of course, there is a kind of polar opposite personality. One who, for their own selfish reasons, may prioritize conflict, rugged truth-telling (or not so-truthful) and standing up for various “causes”. These folks get what they want in terms of thrills, attention and respect. They are unlikely to muzzle themselves, “let something go” or make concessions because the Cause or just the fight are too valuable.
Again, ironically, when one selfishly pursues engagements like that, it will lead to isolation, irrelevance and boredom (they are driven INTO a tower or shelter…more like a prison, really). When those around them can no longer tolerate the constant drama, the fragile ego and the never-ending combat, they will withdraw and leave the aggressor alone..with no one to fight with.
Christ as our Sword, as our Shield, our Tower and Shelter takes our focus off of self. We can then trust in Him.