“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
When my son was much younger he was afraid of thunderstorms, especially those that came through at night. Like every child, he wanted to be near his parents, where he felt safe; but he was at the age where he really wanted to be “a big boy.” He didn’t want to give in to his fears, but his fears were very real. I’ve been there, and I am sure you have as well.
I remember one night in particular, when a storm rolled in just as his dad and I were going to bed. He said to me, “Mommy, I’m just gonna lay down here by your bedroom door. I really don’t need to get in your bed anymore.” “Okay son that is a good idea. I am here if you need me.” And so he curled up with his pillow and blanket by the door. The thunder crackled outside and lightning flashed through the sky. “Mommy, I am going to lay down here on the floor beside your bed. Don’t step on me Mommy!” “Okay son, I will be careful not to step on you. I’m here if you need me.” Another bright flash followed by a crash of thunder. “Mommy will you put your hand down here so I can hold it?” “Of course son, here’s my hand. I’m here if you need me.” Suddenly the sky lit up and a “BOOM!” rattled the windows. “Mommy, I’m comin’ up there!” And in just a few minutes, nestled in my arms, one hand reaching out to touch his dad, my son was fast asleep, even as the storm raged on.
Doesn’t life throw some awfully frightening storms our way at times? The rain pounds down on us and we frantically search for a safe haven from the lightning. I think the emotional and mental thunder is the worst. The crash of a breaking heart, the crackle of frayed nerves and the BOOM that rattles our lives makes us want to reach out to someone, anyone who will comfort us and make us feel safe and secure. Where do grown-ups go when the storms roll through?
Like many, I turn to the Word of God, and especially the Psalms. Psalmists like King David and Aseph, one of the Temple musicians, peppered the book of Psalms with both pleas and praise for God’s protection during stormy seasons. God is called, a “shield” (Ps. 3:3, 5:12, 7:10,), a “refuge and stronghold” (Ps. 9:9), and a “place of shelter” (Ps. 55:8), just to name a few. David finds security “in the shadow of [God’s] wings” (Ps. 17:8). One of my favorite phrases is “But God…” Over and over again, the Psalmist expresses his fears over the storm he is in, and then turns his heart around by saying “But God…” as he proclaims his confidence and trust in the Lord. Psalm 73 could have been my son’s verse: “Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.” And David expressed what I am sure were his feelings that stormy night: “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8).
Remember how Jesus calmed the storm in Mark 4: 35-41, and even walked on the tumultuous waves in Matthew 14:22-33? He is still walking out on the choppy seas of your life and mine to calm the storm around us. Life is hard, but you don’t have to face it alone. You have a Shield, a shelter and a refuge. Storms will come, of that we can be certain. But God… God calls out “I’m here if you need me.” He holds His arms open wide to draw His child near, and in the arms of God is peace, safety, security…and rest.
Holy Father, like a little child, I will draw close to You when the thunder crashes, all the way up into Your strong and reassuring arms. You are my comfort in the storms of life. Amen.