November 7, 2018

“Shelter” is a familiar word these days as communities try to find ways to care for homeless people. As cold, wet weather arrives, we want to protect people as much as possible. It is a difficult challenge with no easy solution.

I have been pondering the broader issue of the human need for protection, a global problem that goes beyond shelter from the cold. Our world is broken because people are broken. The counterfeit god, Satan, appears to be far more in control than we want to admit. Everyone needs a temporary and a permanent place of shelter.

Over 130 years ago, Ira D. Sankey wrote the music to words penned by Vernon J. Charlesworth. We know the song as “A Shelter in the Time of Storm.” History tells us that these were favorite words sung by fishermen on the north coast of England as they approached harbor during a storm.

We can imagine the scene of stormy seas while experienced fishermen sang, “The raging storms may ‘round us beat, Jesus is a rock in a weary land, a shelter in the time of storm.” We can almost hear their words, “O Rock divine, O Refuge dear, be Thou our helper ever near.”

A few thousand years ago, Hannah believed God for a son and gave birth to Samuel. When he was old enough, she took him to the temple to assist Eli, the priest. It was her promise kept. And then she prayed, “There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides Thee, nor is there any rock like our God” (I Samuel 2:2). She could have sung, “The Lord’s our rock, in Him we hide, secure whatever ill betide.”

Important as it is to try to find shelter for homeless people, we must remember that “Jesus is a rock in a weary land.” He offers shelter from the penalty of sin and hope for eternal refuge with Him.

Pastor Bill Ehmann

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