Wisely, birds build their nests in sheltered places. Our robins build their nests either on the timbers beneath our deck or on a gable sheltered by our roof. Wrens chose to build theirs in a dense tangle of vines beneath an overhang on house.
Birds prepare for the eventuality of storms. Terrible storms—hurricanes, tornadoes, and torrential rains—have battered much of the world this year. Nothing could prepare Toronto this past weekend for the historic torrents of rain that flooded the whole city. But we can learn from storms. When Hurricane Hazel blasted Ontario in 1954 and flooded the Humber River valley, 81 people lost their lives and there was 137 million dollars in property damage. As a result municipalities on river valleys in Ontario passed legislation banning the building of homes on most river valleys and flood plains.
Experience tells us that it is foolish to build on a flood plain, or as Jesus warned, on sand. It is just as foolish to be unprepared for the emotional and spiritual storms that will inevitably batter our lives.
Our friends or family may become for us the help and encouragement we need during times of trial or pain. And when friends and family need us, we should provide the same support to them. We should also express concern and offer practical help to suffering neighbours.
But in a fallen world where selfishness reigns, where misunderstandings abound, and where most seem oblivious to the pain we feel inside, there is one place where we can always find shelter. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune may fly all around us. We may be tested and tried beyond our limits. No one may hear our silent cry for help—but One Person. But that One is always attentive to our cries.
The book of Psalms abundantly testifies to that reality. “Blessed are all who take refuge in him [the Son]” (Psalm 2:12). “O Lord my God, I take refuge in you”(Psalm 7:1). “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble”(Psalm 8:9). “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”(Psalm 18:2). Ira Sankey put this truth to music;
The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A shelter in the time of storm.
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land…a shelter in the time of storm.
Do we find ourselves assailed by storms of pain or doubt, discouragement or worry? Let’s find refuge in the arms of Jesus.