Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,

for in you my soul takes refuge;

in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,

until the destroying storms pass by.

Psalm 57:1, NRSV

The sky is cloudy this morning, and snow is coming. High winds, almost hurricane strength, are on their way. Towns on the seacoast are preparing for storm surge. A blizzard is a fierce storm, and sometimes a destroying one. The last time this happened, the power was out for two days.

Storms are giant reminders that I cannot control the world I live in. I can and do prepare – pulling in trash cans and other things that might blow away, filling the bird feeders, having food and candles and batteries at hand – but I cannot control or avoid the storms that visit my home. Unless I leave.

For most storms, I’ll stay home; losing power and mobility for a day or two is just an inconvenience. But for those storms that threaten to destroy my home, ones that threaten my life and the lives of those I love, I’ll leave home and possessions to find a safer place. Houses can be rebuilt. There’s a big difference between inconvenience and death dealing destruction.

The same is true of the storms in my life that aren’t weather related. Heartache, pain, loss, and death. They hit home, wreaking havoc in my heart, mind, and soul. It’s easy to get lost in these storms; I’ll stay put and take the consequences for most of these, but seek a safe place when it’s beyond my strength.

Whatever type of storm comes, I’ll say a prayer for mercy and refuge. I’ll pray for myself and for others. I’ll seek shelter in the storm in the home that can never be destroyed: God’s loving embrace.

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