Shelter in the Storm

I was twelve years old when Hurricane David came through Florida in 1979.  This category 5 hurricane had just ravaged the Dominican Republic and was forecast to come through my region of the state.  Schools were closed for two days and the news was full of updates about the disaster this mega storm had already left behind.  Although an evacuation was not ordered, residents were admonished to take cover in the safest place in their homes.  I remember my mother telling my three sisters and me to gather together in the guest bathroom downstairs when the storm was getting closer.  To make our hiding place a little more comfortable we each began to load up the bathroom with our favorite things-pillows, blankets and of course, our beloved stuffed animals.  Almost immediately we forgot about the impending storm.  Instead, my sisters and I became completely focused on creating a shanty out of blankets and pillows and filling it with all of our stuffed animals.  I remember the fun we had until suddenly the door of the bathroom could no longer muffle the sound of the wind outside.  I could hear the pelting rain rattling against the windows and the glass sliding doors.  Instantly, I became aware of something missing from this shelter amidst the storm.  My mother. Where was she?   This storm that had only brought me a vacation from school and playtime with my sisters was now about to deliver destruction to my small world.  I desperately needed my mother’s reassuring presence to comfort me.  None of my cozy items could give me what my mother could in a moment like this. I vividly recall the fear I had inside when I frantically realized that my mother had never entered the hiding place with us.

In times of trouble we all create barriers, coping mechanisms, and distractions to help us deal with the feelings of angst or fear that comes when we are in the midst of turmoil.  Pillows and stuffies get replaced with other comforts like food, books, music, the internet, television or a dozen other things that momentarily soothe us as adults.  But like the storm I faced as a little child, many times we suddenly realize that we need something much bigger than ourselves to bring us lasting comfort in life’s storms.  We desperately need security that no behavior, thing, or coping strategy can offer when  we are in the middle of a disaster or we see one coming our way.

While raising teenagers is not always full of calamity, there is no question that during this season of life many families begin to face some turmoil.  The problems that we faced when our kids were younger  often pale in comparison to the disintegrating marriage, family chaos, job strains, rebellious teenagers or even health issues that many parents must confront just when their kids reach adolescence.  What can be done?  Where can we hide when confronted with overwhelming struggles like these?

In Psalm 18:18-19, David looks back at his life and praises the Lord for the way he supported him in times of trouble.  I especially love how the variations offered in the *Expanded Bible give us some added insight to the meaning of some of the words in this passage.

They ·attacked [confronted] me ·at my time of trouble [L in the day of my distress/calamity/disaster], but the Lord ·supported me [was my stay] He took me to a ·safe [spacious; open; L broad]place.  Because he delights in me, he ·saved [rescued;T delivered] me.

Don’t you love how the phrase “the Lord supported me” can also mean “was my stay”.  God stays with us in the storm.  He does not leave us alone in our hiding places.  And in His perfect timing, He will deliver us to the open place.  Why does He do this for us?  He does this my friend simply because He delights in you and He delights in me.

Today, may you remember that He will stay with you in the midst of your troubles and that in due time He will take you to the spacious, open place where you will be freed from the turmoil of today.  What an amazing promise that is, especially in times like these.

*The Expanded Bible was released by Thomas Nelson Publishers in 2011 and offers the reader some insight by providing the literal meaning of words or phrases or an alternate translation. I find it helpful to understand the intended meanings of particular words/passages in the Bible.

2 Responses

  1. Dear Jackie,

    I so needed to read this today — thank you very much. What an encouragement!

    In Christ’s Love,
    Emily

  2. Great analogy, Jackie! Thanks for sharing it!

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