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 “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)

Recently our family decided to take shelter in our basement after we became aware of a tornado watch for our area. The warning from the National Weather Service forecasted potential strong, damaging winds accompanied by torrential rainfall. With some blankets and few battery-operated devices including a cellphone – we knew that in the underground part of the house we would have better protection from the elements as well as the ability to enjoy TV and have access to a supply of food if the power did not go out. Somehow, it just made sense.  Since the alert was time-limited, a few hours later we came back up the stairs to discover nothing outside had occurred. However, the thought crossed in the back of our minds that it could have. Better to have been safe than sorry. Sometimes the storms of our lives are meteorological; at times they are man-made. On October 6, 1961, President John F. Kennedy advised American families to build bomb shelters to protect them from atomic fallout in the event of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. Only one year later, true to Kennedy’s fears, the world hovered on the brink of full-scale nuclear war when the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted over the USSR’s placement of nuclear missiles in Cuba. During the tense 13-day crisis, some Americans prepared for nuclear war by buying up canned goods and completing last-minute work on their backyard bomb shelters.

How to save yourself and others from potential adversity has become an obsession of many over time. The doomsday philosophers have created an upswing in interest about how to properly prepare a safe space for almost any crisis such as power grid failures, nuclear disasters, tsunamis, earthquakes, terrorist attacks or economic collapse. Start-to-finish guides for elaborate bunkers sometimes include cinemas, underground gardens, swimming pools, spas, wine vaults and whatever other ‘necessities’ you might deem important in order to find comfort during your anticipated apocalypse. Some claim that this frenzy has occurred as we find ourselves in an age of ‘secular humanism’ where those without the security of religion believe their hope lies in working on ways to survive for as long as possible. Predictions about the end of the world have come and gone many times. Jesus warned that someday this world as we know it will come to an end—not because of a war or natural disaster, but because God will intervene at an established time only He knows. Jesus said, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” (Acts 1:7). Meanwhile He warned of false prophecies and of Satan’s influence in the world situation – “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:2-4). Our greatest adversary is alive and well.

As Believers, we soon come to realize that wherever we seek safety – it is God’s presence with us in that place that provides the strength and protection we really need. As he hid in a cave from an enemy who would kill him, David understood that feeling: “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed” (Psalm 57:1). As humans, we sometimes allow ourselves to view God’s protection as a magic force field that keeps us from all harm. Yet Jesus affirmed that the storms of life will always be there. In reality, we will never know how many times God has actually protected us since He works in ways simply beyond our comprehension. Sometimes God’s protection comes in the form of peace and strength in the middle of despair. Sometimes it comes in the form of an ending because He sees something more on the horizon that we cannot see. When we come to Christ, we are given new life as well as God’s shield in which absolutely nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). The assurance of a safe space like this one will provide all the security we need, regardless of any fallout from the world around us.

REFLECTION: Consider what you define to be the safe spaces in your life. Do they include a sturdy home where you seek shelter in the event of a storm or the loving arms of a loved one when you are personally attacked? Where does God fit into this picture? How do you challenge yourself and others who sometimes unnecessarily seek safe spaces in their lives when they merely need to exercise faith in God’s protection?


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