A major hurricane had hit, and a fairly strong spin-off storm was headed our way. My husband was in Siberia, and I was home alone.
It was evident the remnants of the storm would soon hit our area. By mid-afternoon the rain began, and it was much heavier than most storms. As night approached, so did the wind.
Our house sits in a forest, surrounded by trees that are sixty to eighty feet tall. Now wind gusts up to seventy miles per hour were pounding them. The sound of branches breaking off and hitting the side of the house and the steadily mounting roar of the wind became frightening. And then the electrical power went off.
After praying for safety and peace of mind, there was little else to do but to go to bed. As I lay awake praying, a loud thud sounded above the wind and rain, shaking the ground and the house. Because it was pitch-black inside and out, I could only guess that a tree had fallen nearby. My prayers became more urgent as another thud sounded, followed by another and another.
Suddenly there was a booming crash, and the house shook violently. There was no doubt that a tree had hit it. Leaping up, I expected to collide with branches or plummet into holes that had been created by the fallen tree. Instead I only hit walls and furniture as I tried to make my way by the dim light of my nearly dead flashlight. Puzzled, but realizing there was nothing I could do at that moment, I lay down again, fearfully continuing to pray for safety. I fell into a surprisingly peaceful sleep as the storm continued to rage and trees continued to fall.
By dawn the rain and wind had moved on. As I looked outside, God’s protection was unmistakable. Twelve trees surrounding our house had fallen. Two had hit the house but had fallen on the end farthest from where I had spent the night. Amazingly, those trees had not crushed the roof, and their trunks and limbs had sealed the holes that had been created so that no water had come into the house. Two other trees had landed within inches of either side of the room where I had slept. I marveled at God’s hand on my life, for I surely would have been hurt if those trees had fallen at a slightly different angle.
That morning, I clearly understood David’s words that God “is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my deliverer. He stands before me as a shield, and I take refuge in him…” (Ps. 144:2).
God “stands before” us “as a shield.” When life presses down on us harshly, it may be hard to believe this statement, for it is not often that God’s protection on our lives is clearly seen and obvious to us. And yet, we who are God’s followers do not know what it is like to live without Him going before us as a shield, deflecting multiple instances of harm and danger. We only know what we have experienced, not what we have been sheltered from and never experienced.
But we are promised that God is even more than the God who goes before us. He is also our “loving ally” standing alongside us. He is fighting for us, not against us. In a world that can be frightening, He is our “deliverer” and our “tower of safety.”
Even knowing this and believing it, we can still have lingering wounds from the difficulties of our lives. In spite of recognizing God’s protection, the night of the storm had been a long and terrifying one, and high-wind storms can now make me uneasy if my focus is on the storm rather than on God. David understood the issue of the scars that remain from our life experiences, for he acknowledged needing to “take refuge” in God. God is our place of safety and healing. And God will always be that for His children.
As we remember past difficulties, live with today’s issues, or look out at the future with possible fear and apprehension, we need Someone greater than our problems and ourselves. We need God. Who better to have going before us, standing beside us, and sheltering us on life’s journey?
© 2010 Arlina Yates