As the Coronavirus wends its way around the world, local and state government and healthcare officials advise citizens to shelter in place. Almost overnight, schools and businesses close while students, employees, and employers seek safety within the homes they occupy, rediscovering time alone or with spouses, children, significant others, etc.
Long lines form at grocery stores. Bare shelves greet customers. Masks and gloves become must-have wardrobe accessories. Handwashing is at an all-time high. As people try to live as safely as possible to slow the spread of the virus, fear and anxiety must also be treated as contagions.
During a time of great personal distress the psalmist David cries out to the Lord, seeking shelter and security. “Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings” (Psalm 61:1-4).
Like David, these are days when many are overwhelmed. It’s not enough to simply shelter in place. We must seek safety, salvation, security, and strength from the One who is our Rock, Refuge, Shelter, and Strong Tower.
Literally and figuratively, a shelter is a refuge from rain or storms. It is a place of hope and trust. A shelter is also found in the person to whom one flees. In these trying times there is only One who offers such security and that is the Person of Jesus Christ.
Hymnwriter Nancy Byers penned the following words in her song The Clefted Rock:
In the clefted Rock I hide,
Savior, let me here abide;
Sheltered from each stormy gale,
All secure within the vale.
Rock of safety—blest abode,
Hid away with Christ in God;
Nothing can I want beside,
For my soul is satisfied.
One day, hopefully sooner than later, this pandemic will pass. People will emerge from their homes and return to schools, jobs, and public places. My hope and prayer is that during this time we will learn the importance of sheltering in place as a lifestyle. That, like David, we will learn to abide in God’s tabernacle—His presence forever, and trust in the shelter of His wings.