A Refuge From The Storm

Purple-Storm

When I was a very small girl I was terribly afraid of storms.  I did not like thunder and lightening.  Then one night I was staying with my dear Grandma Kopp, sleeping on the sofa in the living room, when Los Angeles got one of those RARE storms.  The thunder was LOUD and the lightening was BRIGHT and it seemed I was off the sofa and into grandma’s room before the lightening stopped.  I remember very vividly grandma talking to me about the storm and then praying with me that I would no longer be afraid.  From that night to this I have never been fearful of thunder and lightening again!  At a young age I learned JESUS is my shelter in a time of storm.  It was a valuable lesson that I have applied spiritually many times.

When talking about storms you can conjure up all types of images of dark clouds, heavy rain, fierce winds, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, etc.  We don’t have to go back vary far in our own history to be reminded of Katrina or Hurricane Andrew or other terrible storms even here in Southern California that have taken a toll in loss of life.

The Bible mentions storms … Noah’s flood being the first.  The disciples and Jesus were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when a sudden storm came up.

Storms can be predicted (as when the television weatherman tells us a storm is coming) and we can run out and by supplies … be prepared.  Storms can also be sudden and we are caught unprepared.

How do we prepare for the storm THAT WILL COME and how do we ENDURE the coming storm … how do we find that place of refuge and shelter and STAY there.

Difficult times will do one of two things … drive you TO God or AWAY from God.

Isaiah 25:4 says, “YOU have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”

We will find that ONLY in Christ Jesus will we find refuge/shelter. There is a scripture that I wish wasn’t in the Bible … at least the first part of it!  I don’t like it … I guess it could even be called a promise!   The second part is wonderful and gives me hope for the first part …

John 16:33, (Jesus is speaking) “In the world you WILL have tribulation (a storm to be sure!); but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world …”

So my outline is simple … In this life you will have tribulation (so what else is new?)

Our storms are varied … and you will have more than one!  They can be marital, our children, employment, depression, grief …

None of us look forward to storms (unless you are one of those storm chaser people!) especially the personal kind. So I don’t feel I need to spend time on this one.  Some of you are in a storm RIGHT now and wondering how you will make it through or even if it is worth fighting to stay above water!

What you want right now is to find that refuge or shelter to hide.

If you are caught in a pelting rain storm what is the first thing you do?  Put up your umbrella (a small shelter to be sure!) or run for the nearest building to wait it out.  If in an earthquake we want to be someplace where we will safe.  This is natural.  None of us like threatening storm.

I looked up “shelter” in the dictionary; “something that covers or affords protection; a means or place of protection; the state of being covered and protected”.  “refuge”; shelter or protection from danger or distress.

So here is the part that gives me courage …

“Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (peace in crisis).  JESUS is speaking here … HE is telling us to “be of good cheer” … in the middle of your storm because HE has “overcome the world”.  HE IS our peace in crisis …. HE IS our shelter/refuge IN the storm.

Just look with me (or write these down) a few (there are SO many) references to our shelter …

  • Ps. 14:6    …the Lord is their refuge.
  • Pro. 14:26    He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.
  • Ps. 94:22    But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
  • Ps. 119:114    You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
  • Is. 46:4    Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

WOW!  HALLELUJAH!

These are GREAT scriptures of encouragement.  But when we are caught in a storm how do we overcome them?  How do we APPLY them?

There is another scripture here that I want to go to … I have been in quite a few storms in my life.  I would not have chosen any of them!  Yet as I look back on my life I can see how the “little” storms I went through as a young Christian helped to prepare me for the bigger storms that I would face later … and I am still in a storm and I am sure I will face more until I get to heaven!

The “little” storms (although they don’t seen little while going thru them) help us to grow deeper into Him to prepare us for the “bigger” storms that WILL come.  It would not be until years later that I would be able to look back and see what God had been doing in my life to prepare me.

But some storms came as a whammy and surprise!  And here is the scripture I want to share with you …

I Samuel 30:6, “but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”

Big strong upbeat mighty warrior leader David was caught in an unexpected storm!  He was a fighter, had been praised for his victories, yet he returned to his temporary home town and as they neared home they smelled the smoke and found their homes totally destroyed by fire and their wives, children and livestock taken captive (none of them were killed however!).  Then David and his 600 mighty fighting men cried until they could cry no more.  Then to add insult to injury … David’s mighty 600 men who had been with him thru thick and thin turned against him.  Even tho they had all been in this together David was the leader and now they wanted to kill him.

Notice David didn’t turn again them nor did he run off and hide and beg God to deliver him.  Verse 6 is a very important principle to learn … “but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”

David didn’t wait for someone to come to him with a “word of encouragement” or “I’m praying for you sister” or run across the street to weep on someone else’s shoulder or wait for a word from his pastor or pastor’s wife or fly off to get a word from a “prophet”
… but he ENCOURAGED HIMSELF IN THE LORD HIS GOD.

That is the first thing we should do before & after we cry (‘cause women … we WILL cry!). I can picture David getting away for a few minutes or hours to contemplate some of the psalms he had written (just as we should learn to go to the Word of God!) …

  • Ps 4 …the Lord will hear when I call unto him …commune with your own heart …Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us
  • Ps 7 …in thee do I put my trust
  • Ps 9 …I will praise thee, O lord…And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them     that seek thee.
  • Ps. 56…Be merciful to me…when I am afraid I will trust in you…I will trust in you … I will not be afraid.
  • Ps. 57…Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me …in you my soul takes refuge…I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed

So many others that talk about not being dismayed but HOPE thou in God!

Perhaps he even got out his zither (guitar, accordion, piano!) and began to sing praises unto the Lord!  Music is a great encourager!  Worship unto HIM!  What do you listen to?  The latest rock & roll or pop tunes or music about and to Him?  When the night hours set in and you begin to meditate on your problems … do you stay there and lose sleep or begin to sing praises to Him?

What do you meditate on?

Then David came away from that time seeking the counsel of God as to what to do!  He called for the priest to bring the ephod.  Notice he didn’t go to his church board or even the women’s council, his friends or some committee!  He called for the priest to inquire of the Lord.  How blessed we are today to be able to enter the presence of God for ourselves!  After we spend time in worship and reminding ourselves of God’s presence and involvement in our lives, the times He has rescued us before, the memorial we have established THEN we ask for His help.

David inquired of the Lord for his next step and the Lord answered, … “pursue, for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.” (v 8).

This portion of scripture has a very special meaning to me … when I was at a critically low point I heard a message on this passage and it was confirmed to me two other times and I know that my prayer will be answered!

It is important to keep our focus on Jesus and NOT on the problems … look at Mark 6 … the disciples had just been with Jesus during an incredible miracle when Jesus fed over 5,000 people!  Now, Jesus wants to be alone to pray so He told His disciples to get into the boat and cross to the other side knowing they would encounter a storm!!!!  So during the night He sees the disciples in the boat working hard to stay afloat during the storm!   Their fear is not unfounded.  They are in great danger.  They could be killed!  They could all drown.  It is not so easy to be courageous when “in the storm”.

What does Jesus do?  He comes walking to them even before they cried out “and would have passed them by” (v 48) but the disciples see what they thought was a ghost and THEN cried out.  Can’t you just picture them?  Now they are really scared (nights are always the worst!) … they are toiling and striving, see a ghost and are scared and cry out! Where is Jesus when you need Him?  Right there!  You just have to recognize Him!  But then Jesus says to them, “Be of good cheer (yeah right!) it is I; be not afraid”.

Sometimes in our storms Jesus is already on His way to answer us but we are so fearful we don’t even recognize Him coming to save us … we don’t recognize that He is coming with our answer until it is almost too late!

In another storm Jesus was with His disciples but He was asleep.  They may have tried at first to bail water, to do what they COULD do to stay on top of the situation, to “fix” things but when they see they can’t keep ahead of the storm and are in mortal danger then they awaken Him.  “HELP” they cry out … “save us, we’re going to drown!” He rebuked them for not having enough faith and then He asks them “why are you afraid?” (Matt. 8:26).  He wants us to trust Him in the MIDST of the storm.

Have you ever been in a situation where you have said, “God where are You when I need You?”   One of the writers of the Psalms even wondered that in 44:23, “Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.”

We get in situations where we think God doesn’t care about us or has forgotten us.  But Jesus wants us to get to a place where we will not live in fear but in trust and confidence during our storms that HE IS THERE!  He can still the storm with one authoritative word and also He wants to assure us that we need never be afraid.  Even when God appears to be asleep, He is wide awake, watching over His people.

Hey, we’ve ALL been there!  Brewing storms or sudden storms – panic hits, adrenalin rush, heart palpitations, hot flashes, sweats …

Bottom line … we WILL face storms.  They start out small but that is how we learn to TRUST Him. (Chorus:  Only trust Him, only trust Him, only trust Him now.  He will save you, He will save you, He will save you now.”)

Learn to encourage yourself in Him…mediate unto His Word…worship Him…KNOW that He is God, that He is always faithful, He will never fail…fill yourself with music that is uplifting and glorifying to Him…read hymns as prayers if need be.  As you drive, as you lay down at night to sleep and can’t … meditate upon the Word – apply it to your life, how does it fit, etc… especially Ps. 23!  There have been times in my life when my storm was so prolonged I couldn’t even pray anymore and I would lay on the sofa at night and just listen to scripture CD’s or music and sometimes I even took a hymnal and read the hymns as prayers!  But God was there even when I didn’t see Him or feel Him!
I recognized that however I felt … I needed to stay in the Word, I needed to stay “connected” through worship even when I felt totally alone.

Here’s a hymn written in 1880 … “A Shelter in the Time of Storm” …

The Lord’s our Rock; in Him we hide,
Shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

A Shade by day, Defense by night,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no foes affright,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
We’ll never leave our safe retreat,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

O Rock divine, O Refuge dear,
A Shelter in the time of storm.
Be Thou our Helper ever near,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

Chorus:
O Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
O Jesus is a Rock in a weary land
A Shelter in the time of storm.

A shelter brings protection … but we, humans that we are, may still feel unsure, be frightened by the noise and wind … but that is when we meditate on Psalm 91 …

1) He who DWELLS in the secret place of the most high SHALL ABIDE under the shadow of the Almighty.

2)  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

This whole Psalm is awesome!

Ps. 107:29,  “He calms the storm, so that it’s waves are still.”

Is. 25:4, “You have been a … shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” This is a praise to the Lord!

Here is a fabulous verse … Is. 4:5b & 6 …  “…over all the glory will be a canopy.  It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.”

2 thoughts on “A Refuge From The Storm

  1. Thank you Connie for this timely blog. We have been in a constant “storm” for at least a year and a half, and this blog is a great reminder of His faithfulness and greatness. He is bigger that any storm we can go through. We will be referring back to this blog for some time to come. God bless you for guiding you, in writing His truths from His word.

    Liked by 1 person

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