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Listen while you read: "Holy Holy Holy"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 9:9 – The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. (NLT)
The morning was beautiful; we had no reason to expect a storm. My brother, two children, and I had set out for an overnight camping trip on the Appalachian Trail (AT). No sooner had we reached the gap where we were planning to camp than the sound of thunder began creeping through the mountain valleys. We quickly erected our tents. Within minutes, lighting was popping and rain was pouring. The only things separating us from danger were tall trees and the rubber mats we sat on. We knew that there was an AT shelter a few hundred yards down the trail, but we were scared to venture out. After thirty minutes, the storm subsided enough for us to hightail it to the shelter. There, we spent the next four hours listening as one storm after another crept across the mountains.
The psalmist pictures God as a shelter for those experiencing trouble. The AT shelter provided cover for us, but since it was only three-sided and just as exposed to lightning as our tents, we really weren't much safer there. The shelter didn't prevent the storm from coming nor did being in it shorten the length or intensity of the storm.
Having God as a shelter doesn't mean storms won't come. In fact, I've experienced numerous life storms since I made Him my shelter. But in the shelter, God will strengthen my faith in Him to protect me. He may not prevent the storm, but He will safely carry me through it. While the shelter doesn't affect the storm itself, being in the shelter changes my perspective. I'm reminded that my Shelter does have the ability to lessen the storm's intensity and duration if He chooses. The Shelter is the place where I'm reassured that God's in control, that He'll allow nothing in my life that doesn't carry the ability to form me more into His image. In the shelter of God's arms, I'm safe — even if the storm takes my life.
What are you running to for shelter when life gets loud and dangerous?
Prayer: Father, thank You for being our shelter when the storms of life assault us. Amen.