Snow Storm

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My facebook status said I was going to be baking Christmas cookies today, but it's almost 5pm now and I never got started. Some days are like that. More than I care to admit, I guess.
So instead, I think I'll pass a little time between things thinking about storms.

We're due for another winter storm tonight, this one is supposed to last until Monday. I have a friend in town from Seattle and I'm hoping for a miracle...a miracle that looks like she's stranded here for Christmas and we have to send for her husband to fly down and they celebrate here...with the snow...with Chai and Smoked Prime Rib! I'm hoping. Could happen :-)

We had a storm on Thursday and that's what got me thinking about it. When I think of storms, I think of noise and rain and wind and fear. And when you talk about "the storms of this life", don't you think of really hard and painful times and sorrow and stuff? Really tough times...? That's why it struck me as so odd when I was standing at my window on Thursday watching the beautiful huge flakes falling and listening to the "storm warnings" on the radio. The dichotomy of it struck and intrigued me. I mean, I guess it was a storm, that's what the reports were calling it and they were advising us to stay home if we could. This is what a winter storm looks like. Snow on snow. But the thing is... it was so silent, so beautiful...and honestly...such a treat. Because I was standing inside my upstairs window snuggled up to a giant cup of Sumatra. I was safe and warm and loving the way this storm was about to change my world, wash it in white perfection.

And then I realized, the only difference between a storm that tears my life apart and a storm like today's, a wonder and a rare gift... the only difference is in the shelter where I stand. There are people outside today, I'm painfully aware of that. And for them today's storm is a dread and horror. Some of them will lose fingers and toes from the cold, some will lose their lives. It happened last year, it will happen again. Bend is cold in the winter. The wind and ice will blow through their makeshift tents; this storm will wrench through their lives like a cruel thief, because the shelter they are relying on is lacking. For me though, (and I hope this doesn't sound self-centerd. I do believe we have to do what we can to help the ones without adequate shelter...) this storm will bring me some much coveted family time and more of that dark roasted Sumatra, laughter and cheer. There's even a chance it could bring me a miracle gift of time with my friends from Seattle! All this in a very real storm, fully loaded with storm warnings and road advisories, but only because my shelter is adequate...that's an understatement. My shelter is glorious on a day like today, 5 days before Christmas.

I remember a friend once commenting about the idea in the Psalms of God being a "shelter" and how he had never known God as his shelter, didn't really understand what that meant. I remember that I didn't understand it back then either. I suppose I'd never had life storms heavy enough to demonstrate my true need for a shelter, but I have now. I've faced a few storms standing out in them, a few storms trying to make a shelter out of my own sorry excuse for a raincoat. But now I'm learning to face my storms with a cup of coffee and a joyful hope. My God is a shelter. He made this storm too...even the one brewing this very day. Today's particular life storm will blow and rage just like the others, maybe worse, maybe better. Some will lose much in it. I will lose nothing that I wasn't meant to lose, because my shelter, my Jesus, stands firm. I am safe in his protection. Even if I have to brave the cold for a while, he will be a warm fire for me when I come in to Him. The severity of our storms are completely dependant on the stability of our shelter.

Now I know what the Psalmist meant, and I think it's beautiful
Psalm 27:5
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 31:20
In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues. (What a gift this one is to me today!)

Psalm 55:8
I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.

Psalm 91:1
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

And when this storm is over... another gift awaits me. Some sort of blanket of white perfection, a gift of water, susetenance, beauty. I'm truly learning to love storms, even the ones that really rage.