Psalm 91 in the Midst of the Fray: Verse 3, and Share Your Story

Phyllis Nissila

For the complete booklet of Psalm 91 devotionals, click here.

What He Says

“Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.”

My friend Paula told me this story about her uncle, known in her extended family as “Crazy Uncle,” until, that is, after his wife died.

His wife, Paula says, could slay you in short order with her caustic tongue, and she left no relative untouched.

While Aunty aimed her verbal barbs at whomever was present, Crazy Uncle usually sat silently, absorbed in his own world. He rarely interacted with anyone. After her passing, however, he seemed to recover from his odd behavior. He visited relatives more and engaged in quite normal conversations. “Well, hello Paula,” he would now say when greeting her. “It’s so nice to see you!”

A dramatic change.

Paula’s no-longer-crazy uncle’s transformation after Aunty’s death left some family members wondering if his wife’s constant criticisms and put-downs had something to do with his previous condition…

Psalm 91:3 deals with salvation from “fowlers” (entrappers, entanglers) and “pestilences” (plagues) which come in all genres including what we now know as verbal abuse, such as the behavior Paula’s aunt engaged in. And this type of abuse, therapists tell us, is often more difficult to overcome because though “verbal bruises” are unseen, they still wreak considerable havoc–on the mind, emotions, soul, and spirit.

I do not know where Paula’s uncle got the strength to overcome the effects of his wife’s demeaning tirades, whether it was his faith in God or simply due to a life now free of a critical spirit.

But I do know that whatever plagues us, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual in nature, and however much it might increase in the days ahead, we needn’t be downcast. For we have God’s reassurance, as noted in the verse above, that “he will save…” for, He says elsewhere–and directly to each of us–, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).

And what He says overrides the accuser–for eternity.

Listen to Him.

Regain your strength.

And let the healing begin.


Share your own story of deliverance and restoration.

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4 Responses to Psalm 91 in the Midst of the Fray: Verse 3, and Share Your Story

  1. Cathy says:

    We have all known a Aunty, that has spewed her venomous mouth, undermining the weak!
    Usually, it is a sign of Low Self Esteem , on the attackers side.
    This Aunty B, was divorced by her Philandering Adulterous husband, and moved in with her widowed mother. She then lashed out on her mother, with her Upsets With Life, and her mother became , Her Doormat!
    All of a sudden, the mother is turning against her, and asking her to Move Out! The Venom has spread! Now, I find myself counseling, against be Offended, and that the All Holy God, will not Forgive you, if you do not Forgive!
    I have used the Commandment, to honor your Mother…… no avail!
    These people obviously need the Lord and need to discover His Written Word! Being Roman Catholic, they don’t have any idea of being Born Again, Conviction by the Holy Spirit, and Repentance!
    Aunty B is going to be One Tough Egg To Crack!


    • pnissila says:

      You touch on the real “releaser” of those affected/afflicted by verbal abusers: forgiveness. I’ve heard it said that unless we choose to forgive people like Paula’s aunt and your aunt, we continue to give them “free rent” in our heads. I would add also in our hearts and spirits. This is tragic. And thus, the gift of God which is the power of forgiveness made possible through the blood of Jesus and strength of the Holy Spirit.

      This is not the same thing as the often repeated phrase, “forgive and forget.” That one is usually used by the guilty to stop the consequences of their/our sin. Scripturally, thankfully, it is rather God Who forgives and then separates us from our sins “as far as east is from west.”

      But in confusing Scriptural forgiveness with the expression “forgiveness and forgetness,” if you will, people become frustrated. We can be empowered to forgive, yes, but we must NOT forget the behavior as it serves both as a warning to us to stay away from such behaviors (Proverbs 22:24: “Do not makes friends with a hot-tempered man…”) as well as a warning that there is danger of developing that behavior ourselves unless we keep in mind how it destroys.

      But how, we wonder, if we have to live with it day in and day out, can we possible forgive the constant or even occasional attacks by verbal abusers who know how to “cut to the quick”?

      Here is a good way. I have a friend who lived with someone like that for a period of time. At one point she cried out to the Lord, “I have NO HEART for this person anymore! But I want to do the right thing!” It occurred to her, based on Psalm 51:10, (“Create in my a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit with me”) that God could create that “right spirit,” or heart, in her for that person. She realized that God could give her HIS heart for the person, while at the same time helping her to continue to mature in her own Christian growth so that what she may have contributed to the harmful exchanges could be overcome, too. Over time, she prayed that prayer several times. The results were very good and continue to grace the present relationship.



      • Cathy says:

        Thanks Prisilla, for that prayer, and your wise words!
        Sometimes the Verbal Assault, can be seen as Abuse! (It Is)
        I agree, there is No Forgive and Forget. We have to walk in a Christian World View, and Direct Our Steps, in Conformity of CHRIST!
        So many Self-proclaimed Christians, do not have the discernment, to know what Christ really wants from us. They may go to church and live by the Golden Rule (Unbiblical) but are they IN CHRIST and have they been truly Convicted, by the Holy Spirit?
        IMO, we must RENEW our minds, by studying the Bible diligently!
        That way, a Person, would know, how important FORGIVENESS is, with Our FATHER GOD ( Who showers us with MERCY!)
        Many Blessings,


      • pnissila says:

        RE: are church-goers truly “in Christ,” as you asked. I wonder…so many churches have been given over to a self-improvement kind of message. In the meantime, however, the Holy Spirit is still alive and active and inviting “whomsoever will” to be united with the Body of Christ and enjoy God’s forgiveness and restoration through receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I pray many will do so this very day as prophecy indicates time may be short.


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