By Steve Hearts
In the tempestuous, stormy moments of our lives, we often focus so intently on finding a way of escape or rescue that we altogether forget about the most reliable and true source of shelter and refuge.
Last night sleep seemed to totally elude me. I had been facing a low moment of discouragement, doubt, and frustration. I was restless in both mind and body. It was all I could do to prevent my thoughts from going places they ought not to go.
It was raining fairly hard outside. Although in the physical, I was sheltered, warm, and dry inside the house, my spirit felt the exact opposite. The rain outside seemed to pour in unison with the ongoing trials and difficulties I’ve been facing for a while now. Inside, I felt exposed and unprotected from the cold winds, soaked to the bone and drenched by the rain that, it seemed, would never stop.
I was quickly losing my grip on hope and my faith was flickering low. I honestly told the Lord that I wanted with all my heart to hang on and be faithful to the end but that this would only be possible with His help. I asked Him to point out any important truth to which I may be currently blinded. Then I lay in silence for a moment.
The answer I received was rather unexpected. I was clearly told to listen to the song “Hiding Place” by Steven Curtis Chapman.
I put on the song, not expecting much. After all, I knew it like the back of my hand. Yet, each word seemed to hit the spot like a cup of hot coffee on a cold, rainy day, or like the sensation one feels when coming in from the cold of winter to a warm place.
I’m not asking You to take away my troubles, Lord.
‘Cause it’s through the stormy weather I learn to trust You more.
But I thank You for the promise that I have come to know.
Your unfailing love surrounds me when I need it most.
You’re my hiding place,
Safe in Your embrace,
I’m protected from the storm that rages.
When the waters rise,
And we run to hide,
Lord, in You we find our hiding place.
As the song continued to play, the Lord spoke to me. “Are you taking shelter in My promises and My love for you? Or are you too busy looking and hoping for a way of escape from all this?”
I had clearly been doing the latter. I had been hoping and praying to be rescued from this situation, instead of using God’s Word and love for me as the shelter it was meant to be. No wonder I felt so exposed and vulnerable.
“It’s not that I can’t or won’t bring you out of this situation somehow,” He continued. “But meanwhile, let Me be the refuge and shelter I promised to be for you until the storm runs its course.”
With these words came flooding back a series of promises I had known for as long as I could remember:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”1
“Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”2
“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”3
None of these promises speak of “rescue” from trouble, although God can and does rescue us according to His will. More important, He is our “refuge” as we go through trials and difficulties. Just as running into a building during a storm does not cause the storm to cease; rather, it provides shelter until the storm runs its course.
With this renewed perspective on storms, I can now fully trust and rest in Jesus to be my refuge and shelter for as long as the storm lasts, while the final outcome rests in His hands. Meanwhile, my hands will be lifted up to Him in praise because He is my hiding place.