The Lord, My Shelter
“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” Psalm 127:1
I live 30 miles north of New Orleans, Louisiana. Broken trees, blue-tarped houses, storm debris, and rot are everywhere. Newscasters broadcast bad news every night. Every business is hiring, but there is no place for people to live. We are depressed: people are divorcing and others are dying. There are few trailers, no levees, no power, no money…and we are running out of time. Hurricane season starts in June.
I want to run. Knoxville, Tennessee is my dream. I can smell the crisp, cool mountain air. In my mind, I see sparkling brooks, flowers, trees of all kinds—all of them whole, stretching their branches in praise to their Creator.
No one in Louisiana can turn a deaf ear as Evil cackles over his imagined victory. The Destroyer's fist has leveled us, leaving us prostrate before the God who gives and takes away. There is no hiding, pretending or ignoring our lot: we are in an awful mess. Before this region regains a shadow of her former beauty, my five-year-old son will be grown.
Scripture says that, “God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Katrina has stripped me of the illusion of control. I see myself for who I am—a child, wholly dependant upon her Father for sustenance and comfort.
There is nowhere to run. I might leave Louisiana and find a pretty, comfortable suburb that hasn’t been afflicted by a recent natural disaster, but God has not promised me a trouble free life.
My grandmother and great-grandmother relocated after Katrina. They evacuated to family in Evansville, Indiana before the storm. They decided to stay there when they learned that falling trees had destroyed my grandmother’s condominium. We were happy that they were out of danger and away from the difficulties created by the storm. Then, on November 6, 2005, an F3 tornado ripped a gash right through Evansville, very near where they are living. There was no warning.
The only safe place to be is in the arms of Jesus! Whether I’m in New Orleans, Knoxville or Perfect Town, Anyplace, I want to be with Him. Forget illusions, I’ll let the Lord build my house and watch over my city. I’ll hide myself in Him until He takes me home. Until then, He is my shelter. My loving Father leads me to springs of living water—even in the most arid desert—and wipes every tear from my eyes (paraphrase Rev. 17).
NIV, ©2006 Deborah O’Connor
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