An unusual thing occurred the other night. It was about 10:30 p.m. and I had just finished watching the news, weather, and sports on TV when the phone rang. It was the family next door asking if they could come over and stay awhile. The weather channel had just reported that we were under a severe thunder storm warning which included the possibility of tornadic activity. A line of severe storms was headed our way and would hit in about twenty minutes. Even though weather forecasters miss the mark on some occasions, they can, with pin-point accuracy, predict when the storm will hit a given area – and with predictable intensity. I am thankful for such technology. Of course I told them to come on over. When they first moved next door, I told them to come whenever they felt threatened by severe weather, and they have done so on several occasions. They live in a double-wide mobile home which does not have the anchoring and security of a constructed house. However, if the storm is severe enough, both structures stand in jeopardy. So, fifteen minutes later here they came – mom, dad, and four little kids, the oldest of which was seven. I rehearsed the location of the safest areas in our home just in case, and then we waited. The winds became stronger and the rains came, but we were safe inside waiting out the storm.

The storm passed by in about 30 minutes, and we found out later that we were spared the brunt of the activity. It seems that we were in a small crease, with the more intense storms on either side of us. Many in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma were not as fortunate. Some people were killed and much damage was done to several towns. I pray for them. But inside our home we were as safe as we could be. The little children were not quite sure what was happening, but they were with their parents and that is all that really mattered to them. They played together on the floor of our living room, seemingly with no care in the world. When we were sure the storm had passed, we loaded all the kids in the car and the family was on their way home, thankful for a more secure place to stay, and thankful that the intensity of the storm was not as powerful as we anticipated. Even though they are somewhat annoying at times, we should all be thankful for the emergency warnings that are given in times of extremely bad weather. These warnings probably have saved many lives from tornados, hurricanes, and intense storms.

How important it is to have a place of safety, a hiding place, “a shelter in the time of storm” both literally and spiritually! During WWII a woman named Corrie Ten Boom, who with her family was a part of the Dutch Underground, hid many Jews from the Nazis, thus keeping them safe from the atrocities of anti-Semitism. She called it her “hiding place” and later wrote a book with the same title recounting her activities during that time of horror. Later, a movie was made of the book. Many Jews were saved from annihilation because they were kept safe in the midst of the storm clouds of war by this courageous woman. The story became very popular in Christian circles as it not only told a fantastic and thrilling story, it symbolized the safety that believers have in Christ. When Moses asked to see the face of God, he was hidden in the cleft of a rock as the glory of the Lord passed by. That event has filled poets with songs, with “Rock of Ages” perhaps being the most beloved. Think of the power and assurance of the words of that song as it points to Christ: “Rock of Ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.” At the moment of salvation, the scripture says that “you died (to self)), and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). Hidden here implies concealment, safety, and security. The eminent Greek scholar, Dr. A. T. Robertson said, “So here we are in Christ who is in God, and no burglar, not even Satan himself, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:31-39).”

The Bible is filled with references to the storms of life and the need for a place of safety. The psalmist David called upon the Lord to hide him. There was a time in David’s life when he went into hiding for fear that King Saul would kill him in a fit of jealousy. David cried to God, “Hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me” (Psa. 17:8). But in confidence he exclaimed, “He will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock” (Psa. 27:5). “O Lord, I hide myself in You” (Psa. 143:9). “You are my hiding place, You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Pas.32:7). These verses remind us of the security we have in the Lord. We can be thankful that He, in the words of the old song, “keeps me safe ‘till the storm passes by.”

However, there were times in scripture that the act of hiding was not commendable; on the contrary, it was shameful. After the mortal sin in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of God (Gen 3:8). It seems foolish that people think they can hide from God, yet they attempt to do so even today. Saul hid himself among the baggage in an attempt to shirk his responsibilities (1 Sam.10:22). Similarly, Jesus condemned one who simply hid his talent in the ground rather than use it for good (Matt. 25:25). And Jesus made it clear that his followers were without excuse to hide their light (the image of Jesus) before others. He said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Little children in Sunday School sing, “Hide it under a bushel… No!” There are things that people hide, thinking that they will not be found out; however the word of God says otherwise. In poetic language Job exclaimed, “He tunnels through the rock; his eyes see all its treasures, He searches the source of the rivers, and brings hidden things to light” (Job 28:10-11). Finally, it is futile to think that one can hide from the all-seeing eye of the Lord. In speaking of the time when the Lord returns, Paul wrote, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God” (1 Cor. 4:5).

Had it been any other neighbor, I certainly would have opened my house to them under such circumstances; but these were special neighbors. This family is part of my own family, so I was more than happy to oblige. My brother’s oldest daughter and her family live next door, so all these ones who came seeking shelter were related to me. How extra special that our family was safe inside! Are you hidden in Christ? Is your family safe, safe in the loving arms of Jesus?

Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle breast,

There by His love o’re shaded, Sweetly my soul shall rest.