Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
“Every mile is two in winter.” (George Herbert, 1651)
“Winter changes into stone the water of heaven and the heart of man.” (Victor Hugo, 1862)
“Winter Storm Juno” (aka “Blizzard ‘15”) with its hurricane-force winds is dumping heavy snow, creating whiteout conditions, and causing coastal flooding across much of New England. More than 50 million people are hunkered down seeking warmth and shelter. Power outages are widespread. Thousands of flights have been canceled. Travel bans have been issued. Bleak weather service blizzard warnings forecast life-threatening conditions and extremely dangerous travel. Icy roads and bone-chilling temperatures are keeping people inside their homes.
The New York City Department of Homeless Services has changed its weather emergency procedure, allowing the homeless to stay at any city shelter regardless of which one they’re assigned to. In an effort to find homeless New Yorkers along the subway system, they have doubled the number of “outreach vans” on the streets. Rescue workers are reaching out to provide shelter for those who might otherwise starve or freeze to death.
Extreme winter weather reminds us of the sad reality that emotionally it can be a cold, cruel world. And when storms of the soul threaten our spiritual well-being, it is good to know the heart-warming God.
While Martin Luther was in the Wartburg Castle, protected by a Saxon king against Emperor and Pope, he read Psalm 46 and was inspired to compose “A Mighty Fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing; Our helper he amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing.” Thankfully, God is “a very present” (not absent!) “help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1 KJV). Whatever storms life brings our way, God is our Storm Shelter.
In the storm of human cruelty, our Shepherd prepares a feast for us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5). In the storm of unprecedented catastrophe, the Almighty is the Help of the helpless (Psalm 46:1). In the storm of perplexity, our Father cheers our heart (Psalm 94:19). In the storm of trouble, our Lord puts a spring in our step (Psalm 138:7). In the storm of midnight loneliness, our Savior gives us a song (Acts 16:25). In the storm of fear, our Master reassures us of safety (Acts 27:22-25). In the storm of worry, our Friend cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). In the storm of discouragement, our God holds us together (Isaiah 41:10). In the storm of overwhelming danger, our Creator promises we will survive (Isaiah 43:2).
All who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ have a Storm Shelter in time and eternity. “When the storms of life are raging, stand by me” (Charles Albert Tindley). Better than a child clinging to a security blanket, believers have divine reassurance of spiritual safety forever. “Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more, Till the clouds roll forever from the sky; Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand, Keep me safe till the storm passes by.” (Mosie Lister)
In heaven, no storms will ever beat on the glittering sand while the years of eternity roll. Until then, in this cold, cruel world, thank heaven for our heart-warming God.
“Whenever perplexing cares crowd my inmost self, Thy consolations cheer my soul.” (Psalm 49:19 MLB)
Johnny R. Almond
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity
Interim Pastor, Nomini Baptist Church; Montross, Virginia