Shelter in the Storm

Shelter in the Storm

Roone AcreeBy Roone Acree4 Minutes

Summers down South are boiling hot and can change from moment to moment. The sky turns a warm hue of cobalt and becomes alive with bushy-rich rain clouds. Waves of heat stick to every part of your skin and gusts of wind blow like hot breath from a Labrador retriever. The Bermuda grass turns a glossy gray and then fades to ugly brown. Drops from thunderclouds speckle the rooftops, and people scamper for cover as though they were about to dissolve in the downpour.

Often, I can’t help but gaze out on a rainy day and think of my old dog, Rocky.

“Better put him on the back porch before he kicks up a fuss,” my sister used to tell me years ago, looking up at an approaching storm. Even now, I hear Rocky as if he were still howling in the backyard.

Or I remember my first-grade school teacher who understood the majesty of a seasonal squall. “It’s just God kissing us with His tears,” she said.

And I realize that the true essence of our faith as Christians is not characterized by the tranquil skies or the bright sunny days we enjoy, but by our own personal storms in life – the popup thunder bursts that douse us when we least expect it. We can rest in the faithfulness of God, not because we’ll never get wet from the downpour, but because He gives us shelter whenever we need the comfort of His peace.

If you asked my great grandfather, an old farmer, how he predicted rain, he would have pointed to his arthritic knee and said “I can feel a tingle.” And that’s just the superpower of the elderly, I suppose. Their prognosticating flare-ups double as their own internal Doppler radar. But for us ordinary folks, we cannot guess when and where the storm clouds of life will gather next.

All we can do is face them with the courage and strength of God. It certainly does no good to ignore them. I can ignore the possibility of good red Carolina mud splashing all over my Nikes when I’m out in the backyard. But sooner or later, I’ll have to explain to my wife why her best white kitchen rug looks like roadkill. It’s just better to face the facts upfront (and take off my shoes at the door).

I think a lot of people believe life’s storms are a sign of sin or being out of God’s favor, but I don’t believe that is biblically true. Scripture is full of men and women who had to face personal turmoil in the midst of their calling but then persevered. They endured because they had to endure and were transformed through God’s power because it made them more resilient in their faith. And that is how we should think of it.

At some point, we all have to deal with our storms, whether big or small, but they will make us stronger in the process. The good news is that the sun is right behind the darkest cloud and will pierce through given enough time and prayer. I’m also grateful I have a Savior who hears my cries and provides sanctuary when I need it most.

His love covers me through my darkest days. And His mercy is with me, no matter the season.

I just wish I could keep from kicking up a fuss whenever I hear the thunderclaps and lightning bursts. I’m beginning to sound like my dog Rocky, and my neighbors don’t appreciate the howling.