Living in the Most High’s shelter, camping in the Almighty’s shade, I say to the Lord, “You are my refuge, my stronghold! You are my God—the one I trust!”
When I was in high school, I went to a summer camp up in the Mountains of New Mexico. It was (and still is) one of my favorite places on earth. The summer before my Senior year, the oldest boys cabin all decided we wanted to sleep outside, on the deck of our cabin. So we all pulled our mattresses off our bunks and dragged them outside to the large deck. We stayed awake for a few hours telling jokes and stories, and then we all fell asleep.
At about 2:00 in the morning, I woke up because it had started to rain on me. By the time I woke up, all the other guys on the deck were already packing up and moving back into the cabin to get out of the rain. Not me. I’m stubborn. I thought my sleeping bag was waterproof and that I would ride out the storm and amaze all my friends in the morning.
Soon, I had fallen back asleep, impressed by my own adventurous spirit. But it wasn’t long before I was awake again, the rain crashing down hard, and my supposedly waterproof sleeping bag soaked all the way through. The mattress that I had brought out on the deck with me was also completely saturated with mountain rain. I gave up and went back inside, but I still couldn’t sleep on my soaked mattress or under my drenched sleeping bag. I laid awake, wet and shivering, for several hours before the sun finally came up and I could leave the cabin.
In the middle of the storm, shelter was only a few feet away from me, and I hadn’t taken it. My friends had. They recognized what was going to happen and they took refuge. I did not. I stayed behind, intent on proving how daring I could be. But when I rejected shelter, when it was me versus the storm, the storm won.
Fortunately, The season of Advent gives us shelter—A Messiah who helps us weather the storms. A God who protects us and holds us in difficult times. The question is, will we trust that shelter? When the storm comes in, and the rains pour down, will we seek refuge from the storm, or will we try to weather it on our own?
Strong and Mighty Fortress, protect us. Hold us in your embrace. Give us the desire to seek you in our difficult times. Give us the humility to recognize that you are sufficient when we are not. Amen.
Tyler Jarvis enjoys hanging out with his wife, laying in his hammock, reading theology books, and writing. He holds a Master of Divinity from Lubbock Christian University, and has served as the Youth and Family Minister at the Oak Ridge Church of Christ in Willow Park, Tx since 2011. He can be found online at www.tylerjarvis.com or on Twitter (@Tyler Jarvis).