Did you ever have to shepherd your children into “bed” in jungle hammocks, on the darkest of nights, in the midst of pouring rain, deep in a tropical jungle? I did. Honest.
The TV weather people this evening tell us we’re going to have storms by morning. What is it about storms that makes us gravitate towards shelter? Why are we that afraid of getting wet? That night during our jungle training in southern Mexico doesn’t seem like thirty-five years ago, nor does the next day when we walked nine hours in rain to get back to camp. Having survived those experiences, do I now relish getting caught in the rain? Do I hold my head high so the rain can fall on my face? Sorry, not I. I still duck and run.
Sometimes we do enjoy storms, but it is usually if we can do it tucked into a cozy place, snuggled under a blanket with a favorite person, or watching safely behind solid glass. We have fun songs about singing in rain and raindrops falling on our heads. A favorite memory is watching my grandchildren delighting in a rainy afternoon in their little boots and colorful raincoats. But generally, it seems to me, those are exceptions.
And then there are the storms of life. In addition to storms that make us wet, there are those that bring us pain, that challenge our fortitude and endurance, or occasionally bring us to our knees in defeat. Then again, if we are blessed, we may come through storms that bring out courage we never knew we had.
Some of the most challenging storms we humans ever face are those that affect our children. In recent days we’ve been watching some precious family members dealing with that kind. As they’ve walked their beautiful little girl through the early traumas of cancer, they’ve shown us what it means when faith has an anchor. This journey for them is just beginning, but they already have an army of warriors behind them, praying for them and watching for the grace, comfort, and strength they will need from their God.
Those incredible jungle hammocks provided us shelter that night, but more important, God in His infinite mercy never sends us storms without being our divine Shelter.