The Herald Weekly Vol XVII : 22

A Shelter In The Time Of Storm

When everything around us is alright, we move along with life and cater to all its demands without doubts or questions in our mind. We tend to be self-sufficient and self-reliant, and go about in our daily living, quite happy and contented. But, what happens when we receive some bad news? It could be a possible loss of a stable position at work, a loss of a business deal, a failure in examinations, a tragic accident, a fractured finger or leg, a sudden illness in a loved one or yourself, or even the loss of someone you love.

Things and situations around us may seem stable one day, but these may suddenly take a turn for the worse. What will you do when you feel that the ground below you is about to give way, and you are about to be swallowed up by a big hole that suddenly opened. What would be your first reaction, your first thoughts, and who would be the first person(s) that you would think of?

King David must have felt that way many times in his life. As a young boy, his quiet times as a shepherd boy was rudely shaken when he was asked to leave the sheep in the fields because Samuel the priest had come to visit his father, Jesse. Samuel had come to see Jesse because God was going to “provide me a king among his sons” (1 Sam 16:1). When David was brought before Samuel, the priest “took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers” (vs 13). That incident was to prepare little David for greater things to come.

But, as most of us are familiar with the life of David, the years that followed was fraught with many trials that oftentimes drove him to moments of despair. He was one who encountered successes as well as failures. He was much praised by the children of Israel when he prevailed against the giant Phlistine, Goliath, who had threatened Israel’s soldiers. David’s acceptance by King Saul’s men of war, his servants, the women in all the cities of Israel, brought much jealousy from King Saul who was very angry and he “eyed David from that day.”

He enjoyed the love and care of his good friend, Jonathan, but had to endure the persecution of King Saul who saw David as a threat to Jonathan establishing the kingdom if King Saul should die. In a battle with the Amalekites, Jonathan was killed, and David mourned the loss of a bosom friend. Later, David enjoyed much success in a long war with those of King Saul’s house who fought for control over Israel. But, when David finally became King of Israel, he committed adultery with Bathsheba, and planned the murder of her husband in order to marry her. Because of David’s sins, he lost many soldiers, and even the illegitimate baby he had with Bathsheba.

When confronted with all these, King David had to turn to God. He acknowledged his sins, and sought for God’s forgiveness. In the midst of all his trials and very difficult moments, David never failed to turn to God. In Psalm 31:9-10, David cries to the Lord and says,

“Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.”

Do we sometimes feel like David? You may not have committed the sins that King David did, but you feel that your whole life is giving way. You have spent many nights, tossing and turning, sometimes crying helplessly to God because of the situation that you are in. You fell troubled, distressed, lacking in strength, perhaps groaning, because your bones are in pain.

Know that God is your Refuge and Strength. When you feel this way, remember Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The psalmist is writing about earthquakes, storms, tidal waves, wars, battling world powers and the destruction of the earth. But the psalm is actually referring to the things and situations in the world that frighten us, making us so vulnerable. The writer wants us to know that when we are most helpless and vulnerable, we can turn to God who is our shelter from the trouble we are facing. As we find shelter in God, we realize that He is there all the time, protecting us, and giving us the strength to carry on.

When his enemies pursued him, King David must have felt that the earth was about to be moved, or the mountains were being carried into the sea. He felt as if his troubles were like the roaring waters of the sea swelling, and about to swallow him up. But as the going got rough and tough, David never failed to turn to God or hang on to his God, his Creator. He knew that the God who delivered him out of the paws of the lion or bear which were going to kill his father’s sheep would continue to watch over him when his enemies wanted to kill him.

In Ps 91:2, the Psalmist says, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.” Nahum 1:7 says, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.”

Indeed, our God knows our every need. He knows the pain that you are suffering; He knows the fears in your mind. He knows you are very troubled by things and situations around you. He provides a place of shelter and protection from the onslaughts of fear, anguish, pain and tears. All these can drain us out of our strength to live, or even stay focused on Him. But, as long as we cling on to our God, He provides us the strength to carry on with life’s struggles. Truly, God’s grace is sufficient for us to face the ‘storms’ that overwhelm us.

Learn To Be Still And Let God Take Control. Oftentimes, when faced with problems, we tend to panic, and this can cause us to do things which we may regret later. But God says: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). In the midst of the storms of life, God wants us to stay still, and know that He is the all-powerful God who is in full control of everything. This reminds me of a picture of a small mother bird protecting her little ones in the shelter of a small crevice on the face of stony cliff that is being beaten by strong waves and heavy rain. The mother bird just kept still in the crevice. When the storm blew over, and the waves ceased, she flew confidently away from the crevice, revealing her little ones that were sheltered under her wings.

In the midst of all of King David’s storms of life, and real battles, God was with him. God protected him from the jealous King Saul. God gave him a good friend, Jonathan. God forgave him when he confessed his sin. God protected him from wicked men who plotted to kill him. God established him as king over Israel, and helped him overcome Israel’s enemies. In the midst of all his trouble, David never failed to turn to God to get help.

As you face the trouble that has suddenly emerged in your life, remember to turn to God. We may need the help of spouse, parents, children, friends, even lawyers or doctors; but we must never forget to turn to God for help. People around us can give us good advice, spiritual, legal or medical help, but we must have hope in God. He is our great Physician and He will perform miracles in His own time. Even when our bodies fail us, God restores our spirit and soul in the midst of painful times. He is our Counsellor and Comfort, and helps us focus our eyes on Christ who died on the Cross for our sins. He reminds us that Christ suffered much for us, and He gives us strength to cope with our own suffering.

Like David, let us turn to this great God, a refuge in the face of huge storms of life; the source of all strength that you and I need when the trials of life seem so overwhelming. His Holy Spirit will comfort us, and give us help every day to take on all of life’s struggles and fears, pains and diseases.

Pastor Bob Phee
(1st printing 14 April 2013)

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