"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Refuge from the storm

"The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him." (Nahum 1:7)

Our area has been buffeted by some severe storms over the past couple weeks. Heavy rain, lightning, thunder and even hail has swept through my part of the county, sometimes with almost no warning. Blue skies overhead one minute, then CRACK! the sky is dark, the thunder rolls and the deluge begins. As long as I am inside, the storms don't usually cause me great alarm, however, I was caught on the golf course last summer when one of these storms arose and the four of us were quite concerned for a few moments. How many odds were against us? Standing in the middle of an open fairway, almost underneath a set of power lines with metal golf clubs in our hands. When we saw the first lightning bolt strike in a yard adjacent to our location, all we remember doing was throwing our clubs up in the air and falling to the ground screaming like a bunch of school girls. Finally, it occurred to us that perhaps we should look for shelter. Even though I was with three close friends, I really didn't relish the thought of being flash-fried with them. My idea of death was much more warm and fuzzy and involves being surrounded by nice music, family and friends.

My dog, Murphy, is much the same way. At the first sound of thunder, he immediately switches into 'storm mode'. This consists of bugging his eyes out as far as possible, flattening his ears back until they almost touch behind his head and shivering fast enough to churn butter. At this point, he tries to find a place to get away which usually involves trying to tunnel underneath me wherever I might be. Failing to do that, Murphy will settle for crawling under a pillow on the sofa, underneath the coffee table or finding his favorite beach towel to hide under. So, there I sit in the midst of a storm with a shaking beach towel in the middle of my living room that begins to whine and howl as the storm gets closer and closer. He will not let me pick him up, that just seems to add to his anxiety level, so I just leave him alone and try to calmly talk him through the towel. If I make the attempt to pass a treat under the towel, all I get is a snarl from him. We actually had a tornado alert one night a few years ago and the attempts to get both Murphy and me into a bathtub with a mattress, flashlight and radio was just hilarious beyond description.

What is your 'storm mode' when the storms of life begin to buffet you? Are you like Murphy and try to hide and get away? Are you like me and fall face down on the ground screaming like a banshee? Or, as the scriptures suggest, do we take refuge in God, our Stronghold, our Shelter? We face so much these days with illnesses, deaths, job loss, divorces, drugs and crime that there is no place to hide and we cannot ignore these storms. Our human capabilities are not able to weather everything life throws at us, nor are we able to fully comfort those who are going through the trials. Only God. Once again, Only God can do this. Only God can provide us with shelter and comfort. Only God can speak the words which can take away the pain and fear. Only God can provide the power of Love to protect us. Many times we do not feel His presence, and that is normal and expected, however that does not mean He is not there guiding and guarding us all the way through. Then, when we finally come through and awake into the day of sunlight once again, we can look back and see God never left our side.

My closing thoughts? It was a very stupid thing to be on a golf course during a thunderstorm, and I wish I could say it would never happen again, except that my friends and I are rather dense. But, this I can say, God will always be my protector and stronghold in the thunderstorms of my life. He has done it faithfully for many years and I have the faith to know that He will continue for years to come (well, unless I insist on playing golf in the rain with friends who have no common sense).

"When you pass the the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fires of life, you will not be scorched,
nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." (Isaiah 43:2-3)

Be God's,


At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree God will always be my protector and stronghold, but why does it sometimes take so long for me to realize it when the storm hits?

At 9:45 PM, Blogger Vicki said...

Jimmy, I love that Isaiah scripture and have it underlined in my bible. It has often felt like a storm, but each time, God gently carries me through. Thanks for reminding me of His faithfulness. Our God is faithful and true.



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