We used to have drills in elementary school in the 70s….fire drills and nuclear war drills. The Fallout Shelter sign was a common sight in schools and other places in our community. Do you remember them? It’s crazy to think that crawling under our desks was going to afford us much protection during a nuclear attack.
Spring rains can bring tornados and heavy flooding. Fires rage and gobble up homes and businesses. Have heard the words “Take Shelter Immediately!” ?Living near New York City at the moment, I like to explore the Big Apple and I often think about the chaos, the fear, and the destruction that occurred on September 11. 2001. I can’t even imagine that day in the city.
Sometimes it is hard to know which way to go.
There are other times that sort of chaos creeps into our lives:
- A medical diagnosis
- A job loss or change
- All the details that go into a move
- A death
- An accident
- An unplanned pregnancy
- A fractured relationship
Where do you take shelter?
I try to take those things that burden my heart to God. Even when I am at a complete loss for words and I don’t know what to say or think the Holy Spirit intercedes for me!
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26
But there are times when I am feeling particularly at a loss and I ask for others to pray for me. There is power in sharing our burden. It is encouraging to spend time with someone who provides a time of refuge from the challenges of the world. Praying with, praying for, or just taking time to listen to someone as they sort through their thoughts and feelings is a powerful way to provide shelter for them.
Pray for the eyes to see those who need some shelter. And if you are struggling and need your own, let God and His Word provide you with His covering. I pray you have one or two praying friends who are a safe haven and can provide a bit of sanctuary from the worldly challenges we are all subject to at one time or another.
Thanks to Wikipedia and Gerald Shields for making the fallout shelter image available!
On the Road,
We have learned so much about ourselves and others on this trip! We’ve met and visited with people with fascinating life stories. I love to listen to stories. There is so much that can be learned by listening.
We were in Albuquerque for a Hungarian event yesterday and we had dinner with a couple of friends from my college days in Nebraska. We chatted for several hours last night to catch up on kids and life stuff. It was wonderful to reconnect and hear about what was happening in their lives.
During the course of the conversation, we talked about their son’s love for Hungary, a recent trip they took to Europe, and her grandmother’s Hungarian heritage (this was news to me!). Her grandparents ran a “Magyar Cukrazda” (Hungarian Bakery) in New York City in the Hungarian area of Manhattan–just around the corner from the Magyar Ház (Hungarian House)! Wow! We have been to that area frequently since we moved to New York. Back in the day, there were many Hungarian businesses in that area. In fact, I often run into people who lament about how easy it was to access Hungarian things in NYC and are frustrated so few businesses remain. It is just a little wild to me that someone I know from over 30 years ago has such a close connection to where I live now.
The things we don’t know!
Sometimes they are fun connections–like the one I described with my friends from college. Other times they are very difficult life stories that finally come to light after years of processing.
Everyone has a story that is worth hearing. And everyone has a story worth sharing. You never know what you will learn about someone when they start to share about their lives. Maybe the biggest challenge with getting to know one another’s stories is taking or having the time to listen. I know that has been a challenge in my life depending on the season I am going through. But I need to be more intentional about listening.
You never know what you will learn!
When people share difficult stories, it is hard to know what to do with what I have learned. Heartaches, struggles, and joys are all a part of the human experience. We can learn a lot by listening and it can inform our praying.
As you spend time with people this week, think about what they are saying and consider what you learn as “prayer points”. Then pray for them. Sometimes that is the best gift!
On the Road,