Sometimes we hear the tornado warning sirens and we know it is time to take shelter and seek a safe place to be. But there are other times in life it might not be so obvious that we are in danger. Maybe we are too innocent to understand the situation. Maybe we are too deep in some mucky stuff. Or we don’t know where a safe place is. Maybe we stumble someplace for shelter and it is really just a place where the vulnerable are preyed upon. And there we are, again; it seems we are in a hopeless place.
Good shelter, even if it is temporary, can give someone hope. In my mind, shelter isn’t just a physical structure, it is also a mental or spiritual place that provides respite, encouragement, or some level of peace and calm so the heart and mind can think and make a plan. It may provide food as well as food for thought.
A place to be heard.
A place to be cared for.
A place to be renewed and strengthened for the days ahead.
Where do you seek your shelter from these busy days? Do you have a place you like to dwell when you need a break from this complicated life?
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock. [Psalm 27:5, NIV]
May God enlarge your view of shelter!
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 been experimenting in the kitchen quite a bit lately. And this always seems to generate lots of dishes. No one is our house is thrilled to see dirty dishes in the sink because they know they will be asked to do them, but those dishes do signify a basic need being met in our home. As I look around at the other domestic tasks waiting to be done today, I can be thankful for the shelter, the clothing, and the other provisions of God.
Even though Jesus said “You will always have the poor among you…” (John 12:8), I don’t think that meant we were just supposed to ignore their needs.
There are many in the world who do not have the resources we have. Today, let’s pray for those in the world who do not have basic needs being met. Pray about your involvement in alleviating world hunger. Have you considered regularly praying for countries by name or sponsoring a child through World Vision or Compassion International? Maybe contributing to or volunteering at the local food bank? Last year our church started an alms garden. The volunteers plant, water, weed, and harvest an entire backyard garden and take the fresh produce to a local food program. It’s an alternative to mowing that part of the property and it blesses so many with fresh, healthy vegetables! The possibilities are endless but it all starts with prayer.
Life just gets crazy sometimes and I lose focus on some important things. I will have to start by asking for forgiveness because I have been too busy to even have this issue on my mind recently.