“…Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings.” Selah. Ps. 61:1-3
Just when I felt I couldn’t handle one more loss let alone any more rejection, along came more. So big it’s hard to describe. People, memories, dreams, a house and land, all the prayers I poured out there, the dogs, a marriage, my family, my growing up years, a hoped-for future, a beautiful, intensely special place for visits, all in one fell swoop along with more hard news with the threat of another unbelievable loss to come not to mention an indescribable decades-long loss, combined with another decades-long loss beyond imagination and incredible reminders of so many of the other old losses, some old, some newer, all what I once ran to for shelter, for refuge. All crashing in on me at once. Like roaring storm-wracked waves threatening to take me under. But God’s Spirit caught me in His arms and carried me over the waves and led me to His shelter, to His refuge, and to words I had written a beloved friend just days before.
“I feel like the Lord is sheltering me. I feel like there is a wicked storm all around me, battering almost constantly against this shelter. But nothing can touch me. I am safe in Him. I could never describe in words the grief of all the losses I have faced and continue to daily, nor the challenges I face daily with my circumstances, but my heart is His and my life is His and Jesus bought me with a price so I can be God’s forevermore. This has been a hard life, not hard compared to so many others, but for me it’s been tough & hasn’t let up. But I am His, oh, I am His! What joy I can take in knowing I am in His shelter forever!”
I have spent most of my life seeking shelter, refuge, safety, love, comfort, security, hope, protection, and the promise of a love-filled future in this world and the people, the relationships, and stuff in it. To no avail. For all of it is fleeting no matter how beautiful and loving some of it may be at times. No matter how much loss and rejection hurt, God’s Spirit reminded me that day as He strengthened me beyond measure and infused me with the joy and hope of God, there is a shelter that is forever. A refuge eternal. A hope everlasting. A love for eternity. Even amid life’s greatest losses, we can run to that shelter and find peace and love unimaginable even as the tears fall and the heart breaks. The tears that came that day were not those I expected. They were tears of thanksgiving. For my shelter is Christ who is forever! Oh, the promise to be with God in Christ for eternity! Even in this very breath! Oh, what joy!