Shelter in Place

Have you ever been forced to live on the street or in your car? I haven’t, but whenever I see someone I think may not have a home, I wonder how I would feel if I was in their place. It’s easier to imagine you’re strong when you have enough to eat and a safe place to be. Thank God for places like the Eureka Rescue Mission, where people, who, because of circumstances, poor decisions, or a combination of both, find themselves homeless, are able to take advantage of a safe, temporary shelter, where they are able to eat, get warm, and obtain Godly direction. Though you may have worked hard to be able to afford to own or rent a home, the realization that your situation could change in a heartbeat should cause you to reflect and be thankful for what you have and empathize with those who are not in your situation.

Webster’s Free Online Dictionary defines “permanent” as: continuing or enduring without fundamental or marked change and “shelter” as: something that covers or affords protection. So, a permanent shelter is something durable (enduring) that provides cover or protection.

When disaster strikes an area, public safety officials sometimes give advisories or orders to the population within that area to “shelter in place.” That is, finding a safe location indoors and staying there until you are given an “all clear” or told to evacuate. This may also be called for during a time when violence or the threat of violence is present.

There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.
Isaiah 4:6 ESV

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2 ESV

We use weather references a lot when we talk about how our lives are going. Christians especially talk about storms when discussing the trying times we all go through. During those times of great upheaval in our lives it’s critical we know how to shelter in place spiritually. Our shelter then is our experience of knowing God through prayer, scripture, and teaching. If we have built a strong foundation by seeking God when the sun is shining, we will have a safe and reliable place to go when it isn’t. More than that, each of us needs to carry a spiritual shelter that can provide refuge and protection for those around us. For those who follow Jesus we need Godly wisdom and knowledge to best help them with their walk. For non-Christians we need to pray for opportunities to lead them to the Lord.

God, you’ve always been home when I needed shelter. You also sheltered me when I didn’t know how vulnerable I was. Help me to never take for granted the refuge of the shelter I know and the shelter that is there for me wherever I am.

© Joel Tipple 10/19/2019


Photo by Urban Wall Art & Murals
Photo by Urban Wall Art & Murals

This memory could really go along with yesterday’s post, and is probably a familiar one to most of you, those moments when the power goes out.

I have a vivid memory of riding home from the little store. The little store was just that, little. It was a very small gas station with a tiny grocery store attached to a home. I suppose at one time there were many more “little stores” in the United States. Corner grocery stores. Actually, we live down the street from my in-laws, and on their block there was once a little store, too. Their dog would ask to go by himself to get a treat there. They would open their front door and he would go to the store by himself, collect a small Tootsie Roll from the proprietor, gobble it up, and go back home.

Okay, back to the ride home. It’s funny that I would make much of the ride. It only amounted to a few blocks. A few blocks in a small town, I might add. The wind reminded me of the wind Dorothy experiences on her way back into her house, before she gets the bump on her head, falls back into her bed and flies off to Oz. As I tacked my faux Sting Ray bike into the wind, already bits of debris, such as asphalt roofing, were slapping across the road. Shortly after I got home, the power went out. The next day, something like half the barns in our county were down, at least all the barns that were were due to go down, if you know what I mean. The point of my story, though, was not the little store, or even the storm. It was more the quiet after the power went out. Candles, food heated on the Franklin Stove, board games, no TV, talking. A good memory created when a minor inconvenience became a night of reliving a simpler time.