One of A.'s colleagues was sheltering in hers while high winds blew the side off her barn. She lives farther north in our own county.
A news story reported an entire neighborhood's 14 people and six pets finding refuge in the sole storm cellar on the block.
Another story featured a company which constructs storm cellars and steel-reinforced safe rooms in homes. In this region where basements are few and far between, the proprietors have more business than they can handle. Plus a waiting list.
When I hear these things and the severe weather season is far from over, I am tempted to envy, to covet those secure hiding places for when the lightning cracks and wind howls in the middle of the night. I think to myself, "If we ever build a custom home, we should have one of those."
"If we had a storm cellar, we would be safe from tornadoes."
At times like these, I am grateful for the swift and sure correction that often comes from the passage the calendar tells me to read in God's Word. Checking the chart, opening journal and Bible, I read this:
The name of Yahweh is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected (Proverbs 18:10, HCSB).The HCSB Study Bible informs me that cities in the ancient Near East often included a tall tower like a fortress in the center of town. When enemies threatened, the whole town would throng to the tower and shut themselves inside. It was a storm shelter of sorts, for a different kind of storm.
The study notes also remind me that "name" in ancient times denoted a person's whole character, his essential nature.
So why would the name of Yahweh, Israel's covenant God (and the Christian's), why would His "name" provide safety from danger?
To answer that, we need to know His name. He Himself proclaimed it before Moses after He gave the second set of tablets inscribed with the law:
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation" (Exodus 34:5-7, NIV).Compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin: if the mighty God, Creator of the ends of the earth, is also all of these things, surely He is a safe place for us.
The last bit makes me squirm a little, but when I am the one under attack, when someone is guilty of sinning against me, God's promise to punish the guilty gives comfort. By the same token, when I'm the guilty party, as is more often the case, it cautions me to revere and respect God and flee back to Him to receive the grace and forgiveness He promises. It should also teach me to pray for those who sin against me, that they also would seek and find His grace and forgiveness.
A dugout shelter or steel-reinforced room are not ultimately what will give me the safety I long for. The LORD God is my only real security, and He can keep me safe with or without those means. If He provides them one day, by all means I will thank Him and use them, but for now it is that revelation of His character which I will wrap around myself in the middle of the night.
By the same token, if He wishes, He can allow the storms to strip me of everything but Jesus, and He can do that with or without a storm cellar close at hand. May He protect you and me both, dear Crumble, from such a test, but if He asks it of us, even there He will be our strong tower. Only the certainty that He is compassionate and gracious, abounding in love and faithfulness, forgiving, altogether good, only that truth will be the refuge to keep us safe through the valley of shadow.
Lord, I believe; help my unbelief, for Jesus' sake. Amen.
Thank You, Father,
~that You are a strong tower available for our protection
~for Your name: merciful and gracious, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin
~for storm cellars when You provide them
~for lightning and strong winds to drive us to Your throne of grace
~for a quiet Saturday morning to read Your Word
~for a husband who sacrifices sleep to walk the Ebony dog while I cannot
~for lovely readers who show God's love in their comments and notes
~for two encouraging interviews for an unemployed loved one
~for working appliances and air conditioner
~for veterinary help for Ebony's itchy skin (just allergies like the rest of Texas)
~for cheering the home team on together
~for laying burdens down
~for a lightened heart
~for finding out she and I were memorizing the same verses at the same time
~for good reads on my Kindle
~for turning on the radio and hearing song after song speaking directly to my heart
~our excellent (award-winning!) local Christian radio station
~a lovely just-because card from a dear friend
(from the gratitude list #375-392)
Celebrating God's goodness with the community at Ann's:
...and sharing one of my playdates with God with the friends at Laura's beautiful spot: