Storm and Shelter

We rented a ranch cabin for a few days of spring break. It sat on a remote cliff, more than a mile off a dirt road, overlooking the mid-Texas plains and foothills, surrounded by only sky and earth.

Our plans were to escape the city and and spend a few days hiking miles of trails though the brush and prickly-pear, and our nights stargazing and roasting marshmallows. There wasn’t even a television there (with three kids; let that sink in).

But, in the way that plans often go, it rained. Every. Single. Day.

And often it didn’t just rain- it STORMED.

Early one morning, I awoke in the loft to the raging sounds of one of these storms. Rain and wind were beating at the house, thunder echoing behind them.

I burrowed deeper under the blankets, marveling at the intensity of the energy and force just beyond the walls and windows.

Surrounding me on all sides. But not reaching me.

Were I an arm’s-length away on the opposite side of the wall, I would be drenched, wind-whipped, freezing. I would be struggling to protect myself from the elements.

And here I was – same isolated landscape, same open territory – experiencing it completely differently. I was dry and safe. I was able to observe the storm without it overcoming me.

The difference was shelter. 

As I listened to the storm in the dark, I thought about God.

I thought: this. This is why I pursue faith.

We’re all on the same landscape. My belief in God doesn’t alter the storms or keep them away.

But it can be a shelter.

My faith is so imperfect. It leans and leaks. I often wonder if it’s beyond repair, or when I’m going to get serious enough and just build the structure all anew.

But that morning, I was so glad I hadn’t walked away and abandoned it. I saw my need for it so clearly.

It is so much better to be in a work-in-progress shelter than fully exposed to the storm.

I know it’s not a perfect analogy. But as lightning struck close and, in a breath, thunder responded – and me, just a wall and roof away from it all –  I whispered my thanks to God for reminding me one of the reasons I persist in matters of faith and doubt, questions, and the law of love.

Christ is the promise of shelter.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1









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