Do you ever watch animal documentaries? My family loves them! We are fascinated by the spectacular lives of all creatures both large and small. And though each is very different, there are several things they all have in common. One of those commonalities is, whether from a predator, an impending storm, the blazing sun or freezing cold, they all seek shelter for protection. Not so very different from what we would do. Unless you are one of those risk-taking weather reporters who stands out in the middle of a hurricane that is bearing down, instinct tells us to safeguard ourselves from potential peril. And not only from natural storms, but we aspire to be protected from personal storms as well. Avoid the trial tempest. It’s only natural.
When I had my first children (twin girls), my natural instinct was to attempt to shelter them from anything that I considered to have had the potential to harm them in any way. Protect them from any sort of pain. That notion was dispelled before they even turned one year old as they had a tendency to bite one another and pull each other’s hair! No, I didn’t allow it. Yes, I stopped them—when I saw them. But I could not always shield them from that pain. Just as you may have realized that no matter how hard you might have tried to protect yourself or a loved one, pain is real. Storms still come. And sometimes hardships are a fact of life. As I’m sure you are very well aware of. So, if our instinct is to protect ourselves and seek shelter, how can we find that shelter?
Sheltered Is Not The Equivalent Of Escape
I think for a long time I was confused. I believed that if I could shelter my kids, or myself from any pain, that we could escape it. Avoid it. See the storm, but be unaffected by it. Anyone else? But that is not reality, is it? Reality is, we all face painful experiences. We all deal with anguish. We all experience heartache. We all suffer. We live in a fallen world, full of broken people. BUT, that does not mean we are not sheltered! We may not be able to escape the storm, but we can find refuge through it! I am so encouraged by scripture and I believe this one is inspiring for anyone who’s felt like they needed sheltered; “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 (emphasis mine) . IN the day of trouble! Don’t miss this! We were never promised a life without suffering here on earth. That is what heaven is. (Revelation 21:4)* But, we are not without shelter! We don’t have to stand out in the open during a torrential downpour and allow it to soak us! We can run for cover, knowing that God is waiting there, ready to provide us a sanctuary and strengthen us through our storms. We haven’t escaped the storm, it may still be raging, but, we are sheltered through it!
So, if we all suffer, what’s the difference if I have God in my life or not? For me, the answer can be summed up in one word; hope. I need hope. You need hope. Hope in something, someone, greater than the troubles of this world. Hope that all our suffering is not in vain. Hope for finding shelter. Without hope, it can feel like we’re just wandering around this big ole planet aimlessly. Unsheltered. But here’s the thing about shelter— we have to seek it. Shelter does not seek us. Yes, God pursues us (Luke 15:3-6)*, but he desires us to come to him in our times of troubles to allow him to shelter us. He does not force himself upon us. And there, as we find refuge in the shadow of God’s wings (Psalm 36:7)*, and when we allow God to shelter us through the storms and trials of this life, it may be there that we find a moment to treasure.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV (Jesus speaking)
Scripture Reference and Bonus Scripture to encourage you
*“and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4 AMP
*“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 36:7 NIV
*“Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.” Luke 15:3-6 NIV
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39 NIV.
”The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9 NIV
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 NIV
If you have been inspired by my blog, I would love to hear from you in the comments! And please, share with a friend who may benefit from a word of encouragement!