I learned a new term this week that the military uses during times of unknown safety issues. The term is “shelter in place”. It means to seek safety within the building one already occupies, rather than to evacuate the area or seek a community emergency shelter. Our governor, Jay Inslee, has requested that everyone over 60 or with high risk issues must “shelter in place”. The guidelines, as I understand them, mean you only leave your home for necessary errands: food, supply or doctor appointments etc. My children have asked me also to “self isolate” due to my age and asthma issues. Do I like these restrictions–yes and no. Part of me really enjoys the fact I don’t have to make any decisions about the rest of life! The decision has been made for me. However, these thoughts led me to consider the word “shelter” and how the Bible uses this very safe sounding and comforting word.
I referred to Psalm 91 last week–it still applies today! He who dwells in the shelter of the most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Isaiah 4:6 There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain. Psalm 9:9 The Lord will be a stronghold for the oppressed. A stronghold in times of trouble. All these verses remind us we have a God who we can run to in our time of trouble. Over the years of walking with my Lord I realize I have built confidence and trust in His ability to be that shelter for me. Maybe you haven’t walked with Him long–this season with so many changes, is the time He will build a greater confidence in His ability to protect, guide and encourage you. Sometimes the storms of life seem to crash into our shelter and we may question His faithfulness. Those are the very times you need to reinforce you trust. Run to Him, not from Him.
What picture do you have of God’s shelter? A tiny little place where you are huddled up, barely keeping dry and safe? Or a more planned place with reinforced walls with food and supplies already in place? Sheltering in place means you shelter where you are! It is a time we discover how safe and secure our home is. It reveals whether we have laid in food supplies and other necessities. It is God’s desire and plan that we “shelter in place” with Him always! That we learn to make our abode with Him and Him with us as natural as any physical shelter. It is a learning process, one He delights in teaching us. Have you hid His word in your heart that you may not only not sin, but you will have a ready supply of nourishing encouragement to feast upon, instead of fear thoughts?
So learning to “shelter in place” in the Lord requires us to look up, look in and built trust in His Word and His Ways. Monday I had some necessities to accomplish, but I asked the Lord what do you want me to do? He said, wash your sheets. I thought, it hasn’t been that long! So I chose to wash the mattress pad as well. When I went to put the bed back together I discovered dampness. I have a waterbed! Dampness is never good outside the water mattress. Through more investigation I found a pinhole size leak–not bad, but it could have led to a much bigger problem. Because I listened to His voice (and not ignored it!) I was able to stop the leak fairly easily with my on hand supplies. I have learned to not only ask Him, but listen to that little small voice. These are ways we build our trust in His shelter.
My prayer is that as we walk through these unknown days, we take comfort in the fact they are known by Him. We pray for those who have lost their lively hood as they know it. People are having to be separated from their loved ones to protect others. Hospitals and nursing homes in our state have imposed strict visitor limitations. These are difficult for many to be separated from those in crisis. Pray for a dissipation of this virus. Pray for wisdom for leaders and health care workers. Pray for your family. God is and will continue to use this situation for His good, no matter what it looks like. That is who He is. I may be on “self-isolation”, but I can reach out to others via phone and technology, and so can you. Do not let fear take hold, resist its deviousness. Continue to seek Him and His ways. They are always good. Learn the peace that comes from sheltering in His place.