I remember my grandfather’s sharp command, “Run to the storm cellar; a storm is coming.” Satellite or radar wasn’t around to predict possible disasters way back when. If the sky warned of an impending storm, everyone at my Papa’s house was imprisoned for hours, waiting out the storm.
You know– I don’t remember how antsy I was to get out of that dark crowded cave as a young child. That cool bunker also served as Aunt Ruth’s underground pantry. We sat on hard low benches, and I would count the many jars of canned fruit and vegetables on the upper ledges overhead. Potatoes and carrots stayed cool on a layer of papers. I do remember feeling safe.
I suppose those times in that protective cellar prepared me to want my children near me when a storm was forecast. Springs storms, summer storms alive with loud claps of thunder and lightning or the ominous storms of winter–it didn’t matter the season, I wanted all of them at home-right then. I felt like the ” hen gathering her chicks under her wing. . .” in Matthew 23.
Because of our years in Vienna and Denmark, the world I ‘see’ and know is much larger, more inclusive of many languages, faces and cultures. Now, I pray for protection, for security, for hope–for “our international children.”
And I am never more aware of this love and concern I still carry for those beautiful faces as when there is an international crises.
The mood in our home last Friday evening was set for neighbor guests. Candles burned. The fireplace blazed and hissed in one room while Henry Mancini’s band played in another. Wonderful fragrances filled the rooms–truly a safe, comforting atmosphere.
And then we heard the news!
Immediately I wanted to make sure Shelia was safe there in Paris. What if her son was at the concert? Maybe she was at the restaurant? I must write her this minute I thought. I suddenly wanted everyone I knew in Europe under my ‘wings’, holding them, loving them into safety; I wanted to get them into a storm cellar.
But I cannot.
Jesus must have had this sense of longing for those in the city of Jerusalem; “how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing . . .” verse 37
One of our guests that Friday evening shared of a recent incident when a man, visibly high on drugs, tried determinedly to enter her house. Thankfully, a 911 call brought her immediate help. We concluded that we, even in small town Tennessee, are no longer as safe as we like to believe.
We are vulnerable, so “out there” for tragedy. Are we safe anywhere? Dare I live abundantly, free–anywhere? I want my journey to look like the picture at the top of this blog–me, walking with you down a peaceful country lane.
And if not, is there a storm cellar where I can run to for safety, for protection? And a place I can take all those I love with me?
And I know, and you as a believer, know. Yes . . .there is a safe place and only one place. “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield . . .” Psalm 91: 4,5. But does this mean that nothing bad will happen to me or my children or those I love in Austria, Denmark, in Paris, London, or Peru or the Philippines? And we will all live ‘happily ever after’? I think not. What it does mean, is that I can have the peace, the assurance that He is faithful to protect me and all who trust Him for an eternal future.
When the storms erupt around me, and I cannot run into a cellar for shelter, I can run and run swiftly under His wings . . .
. . .but I must learn to settle, just to rest . . .there. . .