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.