Emergency Alert

~~Most of you know that I volunteer at the local Children’s Shelter. I spend my time working for the school that’s on-site but I’m in a building separate from the school itself where I am typically alone. As spring approaches, and the weather that comes with it, the school is required to practice emergency weather procedures. In fact, the entire Shelter participates. When the lights and sirens sound, everyone is supposed to go to the closest safe-room and then report in by walkie-talkie to the person who is checking names off a list. Everyone on the premises must be accounted for before the lights and sirens stop.

In the past, when we’ve had a fire drill, I have just waited it out until the person checking my building came by to see that I was indeed fine and reported that I was accounted for. Until recently, I’ve never been there during a weather alert. When the alert sounded, I calmly continued to work, waiting for someone to come around and check me off the list, never considering the fact that unlike in a fire situation, no one is going to be wandering around checking rooms while a tornado is bearing down on us. I know. Show me some grace. After about 20 minutes of listening to the siren blaring, I’m starting to think something has fouled up the works. Little did I guess that it was me. That is until the teacher who had brought her kids in from the playground to the safe-room in my building came knocking on my door rather abruptly, and with less tolerance than normal told me in no uncertain terms that I needed to get into the safe-room. Now. Uttering into her walkie,“Yeah. I’ve got ‘er.” So, you know, color me embarrassed.

This last week was a rather stormy season for me emotionally. Wind. Pelting rain. Thunder. Lightening. Hail. And yes, the possibly of a tornado. The storm roiled and brewed, and finally built up a towering wall cloud with a cold and mighty outflow boundary. It let loose. It caused damage. It took names. And the aftermath was destruction as far as the eye could see. The landscape was leveled. Then, as it is with all such storms, the sun broke - only to illuminate the devastation.

Please tell me you’ve had this experience, if only to reassure me that this is common to the human condition and not just common to my particular condition. So many things to say here. There are so many warnings in scripture. So many remedies to dry up an internal storm like the one I was brewing. Rather than heed even one, I decided to stand my own ground and ignore the warnings, and I did not seek shelter from the storm. 

I was only one of those affected by the damaging onslaught. While I felt relieved as the storm passed and the electricity was drained from the air, I was left with that sick feeling of dread in its wake. What had I done? Everywhere I looked, there were walking wounded… and that included me. Why? Why do I not heed the lights and sirens? Why must I insist on riding out the storm, fully convinced I have it within me to stand like the mighty oak and face it head on with no protection? Well, I have my own answers to that question and they beg a different post, but you may benefit from asking yourself the same thing if you are similarly inclined to resist seeking shelter. Are you ignoring what’s brewing up inside you? Is it starting to gather steam? Are you seeing that cloudbank looming on the horizon? Let me help you out here...TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY. Don’t wait for someone to come ‘round checking on you. GET IN THE SAFE ROOM. NOW! Cover your head with a blanket and beg for the mercy of God to make the storm pass over you harmlessly.Then rejoice in the Lord that you live another day: one without regret.

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. (Psalm 27:5-6)