The Keeper

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My people were keepers for a reason. The Great Depression left many with little, so the stubborn survivors saved anything useful. Things like bacon grease, ham bones, chipped cups, and cracked bowls. Food scraps, fabric scraps, wood scraps, and tin scraps. Cardboard hand fans and shoes resoled with the cardboard of broken fans. They reclaimed delicate love letters, sturdy Sears catalogs, and a 1935 farm calendar because they liked the picture. They salvaged scripture pamphlets for inspiration, goose feathers for elevation, and gum wrappers for the duration.

Looking back at pictures of the era, I realize they saved from necessity. Mama sometimes reminisced about the unsealed slat and board shack where she grew up, mentioning that it “let in” as much dust as daylight. She would talk about her mama wallpapering starched, empty feed sacks over the cracks in the wall to keep out the sand. When the muslin could hold no more dirt, she took it down, washed it on a rub-board, and starched it in readiness for the next gust of topsoil. 

Somewhere along the timeline, they built a house with sheetrock and began saving for a different purpose. Each daughter had a Lane cedar chest and saved necessary items inside it for her own home one day. Like a country woman’s trousseau, this “hope chest” was filled with quilts, dishcloths, and pillowcases — a much different type of “keeping” than the generation before her.  

Today, I’m the owner of a hand-me-down cedar chest. I thought of it recently as I read that we’ve been “kept for Jesus Christ” (Jude 1). What poignant wording. More precious than utilitarian remnants, we’ve been carefully tucked away into the hope chest of God’s heart (Colossians 3:3). Honored, precious, and loved, we’re set apart as “the bride, wife of the Lamb” (Isaiah 43:4; Revelation 21:9).

As the Keeper of our souls and futures, God guards, watches, and protects like a wealthy bridegroom rather than a Dust Bowl survivor (Psalm 121:5, 7-8). The Hebrew word nāṣar (“to be kept close and guarded with fidelity from dangers”) highlights this vigilant but tender type of keeping. His perpetual watchful guardianship preserves us at all times of night and day (Isaiah 27:3). 

Open up a nearby cedar chest and meditate for a while on your Keeper. Visualize His delicate touch on your life. His eye never closes on you, for you’ve been saved away for His Son one day.

  • The Lord…who keeps (nāṣar) lovingkindness for thousands” (Exodus 34:7).
  • “You are my hiding place; You preserve (nāṣar) me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).
  • “The steadfast of mind You will keep (nāṣar) in perfect peace because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).
  • You who are kept (Greek: phrouréō “to be a watcher in advance, i.e., to mount guard as a sentinel (post spies at gates); figuratively, to hem in, protect”) by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:5 KJV).
  • And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (phrouréō) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7) KJV).

God as near us, and as indivisible from us as our shadow.” (Charles H. Spurgeon)