A thunderstorm at dawn is a rare occurrence and the rumble of thunder is ominous. More than ever in this time of pandemic I am grateful for this simple truth:
It is good to have a home to hide in.
How strange it is to think that an unseen enemy stalks the streets of the country. My state. My very neighborhood. When I venture out on occasion to get groceries, I feel oddly vulnerable. The familiar is not friendly. Except in my house.
It is my safe haven. I’m sure you feel the same. We all find safety within our walls.
I see the same scurry for security in Isaiah 13:
Like a hunted gazelle,
like sheep without a shepherd,
each will return to his own people,
each will flee to his native land. (vs. 14)
Unlike us, however, there is no protection against the storm for these people. For they are experiencing “the day of the LORD” – a future time of judgment that refers to both the coming of the invading Assyrians and to the final judgment of God.
See, the day of the LORD is coming
-- a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger –
to make the land desolate
and destroy the sinners within it. (vs. 9)
Our modern sensibilities are easily offended by such language. The idea of God being so angry that he destroys sinners feels, in our theological framework of a friendly Father, troubling and archaic. So Old Testament.
We take for granted what Jesus did for us. Let Paul remind us, using similar language:
…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (Romans 5:8–9)
As I hide in my house from danger, I have a powerful, new appreciation for the enormity of what Jesus did. As he approached the cross, he was exposed to the full force of the storm of God’s judgment for the sins of humanity. Even the night before his crucifixion, as he sought shelter in the last safe haven of the friendship of his inner circle, he was exposed – first by their sleep, then by their abandonment, finally by Peter’s denial.
Christ had no home to shelter in.
But now we do. Now we can understand what Paul means in his frequent use of the phrase, “in Christ.” (Rom. 8:1, for example). Jesus is our ultimate hiding place.
In Christ, we do not fear God’s anger. In Christ, we do not fear death. In him, we have peace in the midst of disruption, hope in the darkest hour, joy undeterred.
He is our shelter in every storm.
Lord, we hide ourselves in you. Because you took the storm of judgment for us, we are eternally safe. Let our homes of refuge during this time remind us daily of what it means to live in you.
Reader: How has this time of seclusion affected your view of Jesus? I’d like to hear about it.