The shelter was only a few hundred feet away, but currently, it may as well have been a mile.
I had grown accustomed to storms while hiking in the mountains—which is why I always started early in the morning, so I could finish before late afternoon when storms were known to arrive.
On this trip, my brother, daughter, and I were on the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia. We planned to arrive at our destination around noon, set up camp, and continue hiking without our packs for a few more miles.
All seemed to go as planned. We reached our destination on time, but as soon as we unloaded, thunder began to roll across the mountains. We quickly set up our tents. No sooner had we driven the last tent stake into the ground than powerful pelting rain, sharp peels of lighting, and booming bangs of thunder infiltrated our little corner of the mountain. A trail shelter lay nestled only three hundred feet away, but we couldn’t reach it at present.
During a brief lull in the lightning and thunder—and after sitting on our foam sleeping bag pads for thirty minutes while peels of lighting made their presence known—we made a run for the shelter. Soaked to the skin by the time we arrived, we huddled in the crude three-sided building for the next four hours, listening and watching as one storm after another tumbled across the mountains. We weren’t as safe as we needed to be, but we were safer than we had been.
The psalmist also discovered a shelter: the God he served. This shelter provided rest and comfort for him. “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1 NLT).
The mountain storms I’ve encountered were nothing compared to some of the life storms I’ve experienced. During these times, the shelter of God’s protection often seemed close yet unreachable.
But it only appeared that way. God always has a shelter for our troubled souls. The storm may continue to rage, but we’re protected from harm when we rest in God’s sheltering arms.
Just as we had to run to the shelter, so we must run to the shelter God provides. Our effort demonstrates to God that we recognize our need for Him and that we understand we can’t handle life on our own.
Shelters of several styles dot the length of the Appalachian Trail. Although God is our ultimate shelter, He manifests Himself in diverse ways. Sometimes He shelters us through the presence of others.
One thing is sure. God’s shelters are always close when the storms of life pummel. Run to Him often and find the protection and peace He offers.
Martin Wiles is an author, pastor, English teacher, and freelance editor who resides in Greenwood, South Carolina. He is the founder and editor of the internationally recognized website, Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). Wiles is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, the Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing, and Assistant Editor for Vinewords.net. He has also served as Web Content Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina. Wiles has authored Don’t Just Live…Really Live (Ambassador International), A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Noisy World (Ambassador International), Grits & Grace & God and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), Morning By Morning, Morning Serenity, and Grace Greater Than Sin (America Star Books) and is a contributing author in Penned from the Heart (Son-Rise Publications), Rise (Chaplain Publishing), and Love Knots (Vine-Word Publishing). He has served as Regional Correspondent and Sunday school lesson writer for the Baptist Courier and has also written for Lifeway’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum. He has also been published in Christian Living in the Mature Years, Mature Living, Parenting Teens, Open Windows, Proclaim, Stand Firm, The Secret Place, The Word in Season, The Upper Room, The Upper Room Disciplines, Light from the Word, Reach Out Columbia, Mustard Seed Ministries, Journey Christian Newspaper, Common Ground Herald, The Quiet Hour, Power for Living, Halo Magazine, Joyful Living Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, Converge, Sharing, Today’s Christian Living, These Days, Plum Tree Tavern, Eskimo Pie, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Creation Illustrated, LIVE, Purpose Magazine, The Banner, Relevant, Bible Advocate, Reasons to Live, Author Magazine, and Lutheran Digest. Wiles has also written for the Bridges and Pathways Curriculum (Warner Press) and is a regular contributor to Christian Devotions, PCC Daily Devotions, Theology Mix, Inspire a Fire, The Write Conversation, Inkspirations, and VineWords and is a regular writer for the Dorchester County Eagle Record, the Orangeburg County Times and Democrat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal. Wiles has also served on faculty for the Asheville Christian Writer’s Conference. crat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal. Wiles also serves as the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions , the Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and as a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. You can follow him @linesfromgod.