Summary: In times of hardship and disaster, our mighty God provides a safe and secure hiding placed--a place of refuge.
Our Hiding Place
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
Pastors get asked questions all the time. Here are a few actual letters that kids have sent to ministers:
ƒå Dear Pastor, does God like everybody? If so, He never met my sister. (Arnold, age 9)
ƒå Dear Pastor, do you think my father should be a minister? Every day he gives us a sermon about something. (Robert, age 11)
ƒå Dear Pastor, I¡¦m sorry I can¡¦t leave more money in the plate, but my dad didn¡¦t give me a raise in my allowance. Could you have a sermon about a raise in my allowance? (Patty, age 10)
ƒå Dear Pastor, could you say a prayer for our little league team? We need God¡¦s help¡Kor a new pitcher. (Alexander, age 10)
ƒå Dear Pastor, do I really have to learn the 10 Commandments? I don¡¦t think I want to because we already have enough rules in my house. (Joshua, age 10)
ƒå Dear Pastor, do people tell you how much they like your sermons? I really liked your message on Sunday. Especially when it was finished. (Ralph, age 11)
Every pastor has been asked a lot of questions since those dreadful events of 9-11, 2001. The same questions have sprung to life in the wake of last week¡¦s devastating hurricane and the flooding of New Orleans. Why is the big question. Where was God in the midst of such devastation? What is God¡¦s response to all of this suffering? How can we see this and still believe in a good and loving God?
Remember those events from four years ago?
ƒå Our nation’s capital was attacked.
ƒå Over 3000 people lost their lives.
ƒå The Manhattan skyline was irrevocably changed.
ƒå The financial trade center for 150 nations was completely destroyed.
ƒå The world’s economy was greatly tested.
ƒå We waged a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
ƒå But, a long-standing almost invisible war is being fought, and will be fought for years to come around the world.
Now consider for a moment what has been set in motion from Katrina. Rose and I were there a few weeks ago. We drove across the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. We spent a night in a hotel a few blocks from the Super Dome. We ate dinner in a restaurant in the French Quarter. We walked on some of those very streets we have been seeing on television. Unknown thousands have lost their lives and families. 90,000 square miles of the United States was destroyed. 160,000 homes destroyed. 1 million US citizens have been displaced. 6000 hospital beds were cut off from a major city. 80% of New Orleans was flooded. Thousands of children are attending schools in other states. 100,000 Military, Coast Guard, and Policemen have been deployed. Stressed to human limits, at least two policemen committed suicide.
We are not the first to face trying and difficult situations. We will not be the last. The Bible is filled with such experiences. Consider Psalm 57. Notice that the title of the psalm gives us the circumstances under which the psalm was written. David was hiding from Saul in a cave. His king, his father in law, and his one time mentor was on a mission to hunt down and kill David. He had tried and missed before. This time he was serious. David found his hiding place in the cave. But he knew deep in his heart that he needed more. He needed not just a hiding place for his body. He needed one for his soul as well. God alone provides that.
The Psalms refers to God as a hiding place seven different times.
1. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psa. 17:8
2. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Psa. 27:5
3. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues. Psa. 31:20
4. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psa. 32:7
5. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psa. 91:1
6. You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Psa. 119:114
7. Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you. Psa. 143:9
No matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, our God is the hiding place for our soul. He alone provides the sure foundation in the storms of life. When the wind blows and the waters rise, lives built on his ways and his word stand firm.