Growing up our family weekends were times of exploration. We were what some would call outdoorsmen. Hunting and fishing were our primary activities sprinkled with seasons of baseball and football. On one fall weekend my father took my brother and me out into the country for some “man” time. The deeper into the country we drove the more it began to rain. The plans we had began to dissolve in the wetness.
Like he did many times during my childhood, my father said, “I have an idea!” He went on to say, “Let me show you how to build a fire on a rainy day?”
Dad pulled his truck over to the side of the road and said, “Follow me!” Up the hillside we went to finally arrive under a huge oak tree. Dad showed us how to find the leeward side of the tree opposite the wind and rain. In the windless shadow of the tree trunk was dry grass and twigs. Dad began gather the natural kindling for a fire and within minutes he had a fire going. Smiles appeared on our faces as we dined on chunks of steak skewered on sticks roasted over an open fire. It was the best lunch ever.
Fast -forward 30 years. I was a young pastor on a day off trekking high into the Rocky Mountains near Kalispell, Montana. I was wearing wool pants and jacket and Sorel boots pushing through knee-deep snow. I was hunting for a bull elk. When I had traveled about a mile from my truck I could tell I was losing some of my core temperature. I looked around to find a pine tree that during the summer months would have branches all the way down to the forest floor. It was different now. Two feet of snow covered the ground.
I began to dig through the snow and through the lowest branches on the tree and crawled into the small enclosure around the tree trunk. It was dry as a bone inside. The area was about the size of a one-man tent. Inside this sheltered place was the same kind of dry twigs and branches my father used as kindling 30 years earlier when he taught me how to build a fire on a rainy day. I quickly built a fire and ate my lunch. After an hour in the tree-tent I emerged warmed and empowered to make the long hike back to my truck.
Some of you are caught in a life-storm. You need a place of shelter and you think nothing exists. Like what took place on the rainy day in my boyhood and later in my adult life when I needed to find shelter on a snowy hunt, God has a place of refuge waiting for you to discover. To the untrained eye you would appear to have no options, but with God there is always a place of shelter. In a time of exposure listen for the words of your Father. He will be faithful to direct you to a safe place in His presence where you can endure the storm and find rest.
“Let me dwell in your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” Psalm 61:4