If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; (New International Version 1984)- Psalm 91:9-11
People often assume that this passage of scripture means that no harm will ever come to you. I believe they are right... but not in the manner which they are thinking.
You see, when they are thinking solely of physical harm or disaster. Yes, I believe that God can and does often protect us from physical harm and disaster but I believe this passage is referring to something far more greater. It is talking about us; not our bodies which we dwell in but "us". Believe me, there is a difference.
Throughout the Bible, faithful servants of God faced harm. Sometimes God delivered them but sometimes He permitted them to endure it. A good example of this is Stephen.
The Bible is quite clear in it's description of Stephen. He was a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5); a man full of God's grace and power who performed great wonders and signs amongst the people (Acts 6:8). He was one of seven men appointed by the Church and ordained by the Apostles to help oversee the care of widows in the Church.
One day, some men began to debate with him. They were put to shame for they were unable to defend their arguments. Angered they started to spread lies about Stephen and persuaded others to do the same. These people claimed that Stephen had spoken against the Temple and the Law of Moses. This incited the people and Stephen was brought before the high council to stand trial
Surely God could have stopped such a thing, couldn't He? Indeed He could have but He didn't. Why not? Was it because Stephen had some secret sin? Was it because God was punishing Him? If you say yes, then please substantiate your claim with scripture that supports your claim in regard to Stephen. While you're looking for it, please remember someone else who was falsely accused of speaking against the temple and the Law of Moses as well as blasphemy and brought before the high council to stand trail also. Does this story sound a tad bit familiar? It should.
Stephen was stoned that day. He was an innocent man who endured a horrible death. He was stoned. Yet, something interesting happens before he was dragged to his death. He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55-56)
Yes, he died that day. The first martyr for the sake of the Gospel. God could have delivered him from his enemies or He could have protected Stephen from his wounds and injuries. Or He could have come down and healed Stephen from his injuries but He didn't.
Stephen's body was harmed. It was broken and lifeless, however... Stephen was not. Stephen was snatched away, never to endure any sort of physical suffering again. God delivered him from all harm, forevermore and all was well.
I love Psalm 91. It reminds me that though my world is shaken, I am safe because wherever I am, God is...and all is well.