The other day, a very powerful storm arose suddenly from the west and hit the Sauk Valley with strong, damaging winds and a deluge of rain. The impact of that storm is still evident in the area. Half a tree had fallen on a house in our neighborhood; the roof is tarped, and the fallen tree lies in the yard. A few blocks in another direction, a large part of a tree fell, blocking half of a residential street—two days later, and the street’s still half blocked.
When the storm hit, I was carrying out my chaplain responsibilities at a local manufacturing company, making my rounds among the employees. As I walked into the office area amid flickering lights and a buzz of excitement, the human resources manager came from her office on a mission to inform everyone that a weather service alert had issued a warning for everyone to seek shelter in an interior room away from windows. A few seconds later, the power went out—and stayed out. In the dimly lit office, I made my way around a corner, about to take a hallway by one of the large conference rooms and into a work area. But there in the darkness of the conference room were all the employees from that area. The supervisor explained that trees were falling in the back, and with the power outage, she felt it best to move the employees to the safety of the interior room. Wise lady.
This morning, my mind went back to that Monday afternoon as my daily Bible reading sent me to Psalm 57, written by young David huddled in a cave, seeking protection from king Saul, who was hot on David’s trail with the murderous intent of eliminating the potential rival to his throne. Reading the first verse in the ESV took me back a couple days:
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”
So even though David prudently sought shelter in the cave, he recognized that his safety depended not on the cave, but upon God and His mercy. He consciously placed the welfare of his soul in the “shadow of the wings” of the Almighty—a graphic picture of a helpless young bird huddled under the protective wings of his mother. And he determined to rest in the refuge of His God’s protection until the storm passed by.
For David that was going to be awhile. No, he didn’t spend too long in the cave, but Saul in jealous pursuit relentlessly sought his prey for quite some time to come. The storm raged on; David needed the refuge of the wings.
All of this got me thinking about some of life’s storms—the difficulties at work; the struggles at home; the turmoil in the heart, soul, mind; the unrest in the world—sometimes torrential downpours, violent wind gusts, threats of great damage. Where do I go for refuge? To whom do I turn? Who but my God has wings expansive enough to cover, mercy enough to care, and power enough to protect—whatever the storm?
That’s why I, like David, need to “cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me,” confident that by His grace and in His compassion, “He will send from heaven and save me….God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!” (vv. 2-3).
I hope you’ll join me under those wings!