The storm seemingly popped up out of nowhere. The skies weren’t this dark or threatening when they left the dock that morning, heading out on an all day sailboat race down a long, winding lake. This lake had big S shaped turns where you couldn’t see the next section until you rounded the edge of each cliff. As the boat made one turn, the skies appeared blue and calm; around another turn, the skies darkened and showed an ominous storm.
Then came the sighting of the tornado, skipping across the lake, cutting across the land; at once behind the boat, then ahead of it.
This was a dangerous situation for the sailors. Not only is it dangerous to be on a sailboat in a storm (lightening and a tall metal pole aren’t a good combination), but now there was a tornado! The limited sight lines of the winding lake and tall cliffs on each side made it even more difficult to see the tornado’s direction. The sailors knew they had to take shelter immediately. They dropped the sails, started up the small engine and maneuvered into the most sheltered spot they could find to drop anchor.
Seeking shelter from a dangerous storm is survival, not running away.
Just as my father and his crew had to seek shelter from this dangerous storm, so may we need to seek shelter from certain storms in our own lives. Seeking shelter is not the same as running away. It’s knowing when to ask for the right help and hunkering down to survive the most severe of our trials. Sometimes it does mean we need to leave a situation in order to move forward.
Keep your life jacket close at hand when the storms get rough.
The sailors took two key preparation steps as the storm hit. First, they all put on life jackets. No matter how proficient the crew was at sailing and keeping the boat afloat and no matter how well each person could swim, they knew it was wise to wear extra protection, just in case.
As a child, I had to wear my life jacket any time I was on the boat and I really hated the thing. It was bulky and uncomfortable and I longed for the day I’d be big enough to sail without it. But, in a storm, the life jacket became a comfort.
What is your life jacket in the storms of life? For me, it’s become Jesus and the Bible. When life gets rough, I find that wrapping myself around God’s word and asking Jesus to let me feel his arms wrapped around me is like wearing my life jacket. It gives me that feeling of safety and comfort, even amidst life’s roughest storms.
Be prepared to ‘batten down the hatches’ and accept help.
The other preparation was to ‘batten down the hatches’. This directive meant to close all the hatches, like windows and doors, on the boat and latch them securely so water didn’t get into the boat. It also meant to get all loose items stowed away in compartments or fasten them down. The boat was going to toss a lot in the storm and probably begin to take on some water, so we needed to take steps to secure our gear and protect against taking on too much water.
Sometimes we need to get our ‘house in order’, too, before the storm hits. Shore up the loose ends of life to help us ride out the storm. Accept that you need some help with the housework, allow a friend to bring you meals, take a friend up on her offer to watch your kids, or even move into a more sheltering place where you can be better cared for.
When necessary, seek shelter and lower your anchor somewhere safe.
In this storm, my dad knew they were too far from the marina, so he made a decision to seek the shelter of a nearby cove instead of continuing to fight through the storm in the open lake. He sailed over to a cove where there was some protection from the wind and waves. He dropped two or three anchors to secure the boat and the crew huddled together in the cabin until the storm passed.
Sometimes we may need to do this in our lives. Seek the shelter of God when the storms get too bad and huddle up with your friends, family or someone equipped to protect you to ride it out.
Running to shelter is not the same as running away from your life. It’s actually running to safety and a new life. If you are in danger or facing a treacherous situation, find a shelter, someone who can protect you. Look for those people who can be your anchors and hold on tight to them. Then, lean into God and allow Him to redeem you and your situation. Let Him lead you to healing and recovery and a new life in Him.
[callout]This post is part of the “A Better Change” series. For more information on this series and to find related posts, click here: A Better Change Series – Overview[/callout]