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The Shelter of God

    Today, it is very hot. The sun is streaming down and the pavements are scorching. The air is still, and after a long and hot sleepless night, I find myself recalling my teenage days. I am older now, but I remember going down to the beach on a very similar type of day. Because our family didn't have any air conditioning, and often only one small fan in our house, the outdoors was where we all headed to find relief from the heat.

    I remember walking the same familiar track to the beach, and searching the foreshore to find a shady tree to sit beneath in the cool shade. I would open out my folding chair and sit down in the shade of a huge pine tree which we always loved to do. There we would feel the gentle cool breeze, and be protected from the blazing heat of the sun. I recall that the danger of sunburn was a real worry in those days, because we did not have any creams to protect our bare skin. I would always stretch out in my chair and open up a good book, and there I would relax.....cooler, and with a wonderful view of the glistening sea and small children playing happily.

    I'm sure you can guess what would happen just when I was settled! Just as I was nodding off for a light snooze, the shade would move, and I, like all of us, would find that hot sun beginning to beat on my bare legs. There was only one thing I could do. I would have to shut my book, grudgingly stand up and move the chair, and the whole family would have to move to adjust the beach rug and towels, and then we would settle again.With every passing hour, the shade would alter, and every day it was different and unreliable, depending on the clouds in the sky, if there were any to be seen.

    The shade would continue to alter as the sun drifted westwards through the sky, and having to move continually was a regular ritual which continually interrupted us all. At around lunchtime the sun would be high overhead, so that there would simply be no shade left to find, and we would have to trudge home again to our hot houses, because the beach was just too hot and the sun was burning our bare skin.

    Shade is somehing which we all long for on hot days, but it is always moving. It changes as the sun shifts in the sky and is never constant, never the same for very long. The comfort we received then was never lasting. Shade is like that. It is just a shadow, which is never reliable, never dependable.

    But I remember then, how wonderful it is to have a God who never changes. In James 1:17 it says "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down to you from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

    The shade God gives us never changes. He is always constant. Always loving. Always caring and just. He loves us every moment of every day, and He is always there to protect us from the harsh and hot and painful stages of our lives. Joni Eareckson Tada, the well-known wheelchair-bound lady living in America put it this way in one of her books;"The relief we find in His presence does not change with the passing of the hours, days, or years. The encouragement we find in His promises will not fail us when the heat of adversity bears down upon us. The security we find in His character will never vary though our lives turn upside down and the world changes around us."

    Our Bible reminds us about this. Psalm 91...."He who dwells in the shelter of the most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. ................... For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways". Read Psalm 36:5 - 7and/or Psalm 121 for more wonderful reminders of the amazing shelter God gives us as we place our lives under his protection and care.

    Place your life into the wonderful shade and shelter of God. He will always be protecting, loving and giving you the strength to face each day. There is a famous old hymn written by T.O.Chisholm. He writes in part:-

    Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
    There is no shadow of turning with Thee:
    Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
    As Thou hast been Thou for ever will be.
    These words were written a century ago, but it is clear that this author has also discovered the same wonderful truth which the Scripture in the Bible speaks of. I too, find it such a comfort and like millions of Christians around the world, can respond enthusiastically that I, too, have found this to be true for me as well.

    � 2004 Christine M. Jones
    Christine Jones is married to David. She has two adult children and precious grandchildren. She has worked for many years as a school teacher/librarian, and written children's material for several years in her 'spare time'. She loves nature, music and the theatre.

    John Mark Ministries