I spent some time in Africa years ago as a short-term missionary, back and forth from home to Africa every few months.  The people – particularly the women – in the country that I went to were incredibly resilient after years of oppression, abuse and horrific realities that I cannot even type out here.  Those who knew Jesus as Lord and Savior were particularly glorious to watch!  I loved their culture and customs and how they responded to trials with such Jesus-Kingdom mindsets and actions.  I was utterly inspired by them and remain so, even 12 years later.

This morning while praying for a friend, I was reminded of a day that I spent in a Christian village in this particular country.  There was a woman in the village who needed some serious emotional breakthrough, and apparently was feeling shame for something she had done which I did not have details to.  I watched as some of the women embraced this one lady, they all pulled her into a circle that they had made around her.  They began to pray for her, and then sing and dance and do a beautiful, high-pitched traditional call that one often hears in Africa.  They joyfully danced around this woman until she had stood up, tall, confident and unashamed, and they kept going until she, too, was dancing and singing and rejoicing.

Psalm 32:6-7 says, “Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.”

This morning while lifting my friend up in prayer, I was declaring this scripture over her, and decided to look up the Hebrew meanings of “shouts” and “deliverance.” Essentially, it means that a cry of JOY will make a way for escape!  I realized that the scripture here is talking about the Lord surrounding us with shouts of deliverance, not us shouting praise aloud to Him.

That’s when I was reminded of this scene in Africa that touched my heart years ago.  I began to tear up at the thought of the Lord singing and dancing over me until I could stand strong and confident, knowing that I had been rescued.

As I reminded my friend today, I want to remind you….the Lord is a hiding place!  He will preserve you from trouble, and He will surround you with CRIES OF JOY THAT MAKE A WAY FOR ESCAPE!  The Lord will surround you like my African friends, dancing and shouting and joyfully singing over you.  The great rush of waters will not reach you in this place.  

Let Him be your hiding place today as He surrounds you with shouts of deliverance!

— Mandy Woodhouse

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