The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9 NLT
A shelter can be a welcome sight—and if often was for me.
The Appalachian Trail—which extends from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine—is a two thousand plus mile trail dotted with shelters. Some who thru-hike the trail don’t even carry a tent but depend on the shelters to protect them from the elements and provide a place to sleep, relax, read, wash clothes, and do other necessary things.
While their construction style varies, every one I’ve seen is three sided. Some have fireplaces, but the missing side allows snow and rain to blow in during storms, predators—such as bears and raccoons—to enter at will, and cold and heat to penetrate. Still, sleeping in a shelter is better than lying on the ground during the cold months or in inclement weather.
I’ve slept in a few of the shelters, and one thing they’re not is comfortable. They provide what is necessary, but no creature comforts. While better than nothing, they don’t begin to compare with a plush home. After all, those who stay there are backpacking and want to rough it in the wild.
The psalmist didn’t find his shelter in a three-sided structure, but in the Lord. He, too, as a lad, was an outside person. He tended sheep and also lived in the wilderness in caves for a time while running from a jealous king. He knew a thing or two about shelters.
As a shelter, God shelters me from sin and its dangers. When I ask, He forgives my sin and restores me to a right relationship with Him. Forgiveness shelters me from the eternal consequences of rejecting Him: hell. He also promises not to let temptations get so intense that I can’t walk away from them with His help.
God shelters me through life’s disappointments—and they are many. He won’t take them all away. They may often have a place in His plan for my life. But He will shelter me from the damaging emotional effects if I turn to Him instead of other things.
God also shelters me through periods of brokenness. When I’ve lost a job, a child, a spouse, my reputation, my peace, my friends. He gives a peace that surpasses my understanding.
Unlike the Appalachian Trail shelters, God’s shelter is fully enclosed, warm, peaceful, and always available. Run there often.
Prayer: Father, thank You for being our shelter in our times of need.
Tweetable: In what are you finding shelter?