“Go to your safe place and stay”… warns the TV or cell phone. “Stay until the disaster is passed.”
Is there a safe place when more than 30 devastating winter tornadoes make a very long journey through six states, destroying whole blocks of family homes… wrecking entire towns filled with happy holiday shoppers… only minutes earlier? Where was a safe place for workers in a candle factory working overtime to make sure there is candlelight at Christmas?
Scenes of devastation shock us into a reality we want to avoid. The loss of life… the loss of communities, and I crumble.
Where was their safe place? Was there even time to find one?
Statistics report there are 40,000 normal thunderstorms every day… somewhere in the world. You experience those… with winds and rains. But it is the tornado that can cause major destruction. The U.S… has more tornadoes than the rest of the world… 1,200 occurring every year, resulting in multiple deaths. Compare that to New Zealand’s 20. Europe’s weather promotes lighter tornadoes, but they strike. We happen to live in Tennessee, one of three states where the most deadly tornadoes occur at night. Kentucky and Arkansas are the others— exactly where these recent night killers dropped down… in full force.
There is really no safe place… none… for most of us in our physical world. I guess some could find shelter in an underground bunker— but for most of us, we find the safest place in our home.
Perhaps you have cried with the family of the three little girls laughing in the bathtub… their safe place. Just minutes before the storm destroyed their home, the picture was taken and sent to their aunt. One of the little girls is now gone…
Tom and I discuss ‘our safe place’ should we hear the warning—but would it be enough? Would we have time to find an underground bunker? What does one do when there is no safe place? No place to go and nothing to hold to?
I wrote the following on December 5… five days before the tornadoes struck as I had been contemplating this blog on … holding on… since my blog of … letting go… after the visit to the emergency room. There are things we must let go… always… but I want to hold on to Tom:
When I awoke this morning early with thoughts of holding on, such a heavy curtain of fog prevented any sign of life seen out the window. There was nothing tangible to hold to. I confess I fear what I cannot see.
As I sit here, observing the gray blanket in front of me… I realize there is so little to hold to— I cannot hold money… much or little. I cannot hold possessions… all can vanish in a moment. Health is not assured. Youth slips as quickly as snowflakes dissolve. Relationships break down. Is there anything to hold to? Changes erupt around every bush, causing one to wonder just what is real, what is worthy.
The same verse I used in … letting go… came immediately to mind. “What is true, what is noble, what is pure, what is lovely, what is excellent or praise worthy… hold on to such things.” Philippians 4:8
My wise man said this week over breakfast as too many questions wrestled with my faith… There are no safe places in this physical world. Since there are none here, we are forced to determine if there is one anywhere. As believers, there is a reality for us—yes, there is a safe place. That safe place is one of hope—in the One who created us, an expression of faith, not one based on reason and logic.
Especially for seniors… as Tom and I are. We will experience the unsafe places, the parts of life that happen with aging, with life. The storms will come; we cannot outrun them. We can only run to our safe place:… My soul finds rest, safety… in God alone. Psalm 62:1
Christmas shouts softly in this chaotic world…
Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all people. Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ, the Lord. This will be a sign to you. Luke 2:10-12. I encourage you to read this verse again and again, making it personal … to you. This safe place is for you… I love that my translation says A great joy!-
our physical safest place…
“I long to dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.” Psalm 61:4.
A friend from Vienna sent note after last blog: I sure hope you have not let Tom go… not yet. These days he is taking life a bit easier. I think? Cutting down a tree this morning, raked leaves yesterday. As he was diagnosed with Afib with a flutter (I don’t know what that means), He is to have an ablation on January 13, 2022.
… go to your safe place… and hold on… celebrating the Gift of safety each day of this season and yes… all year.