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Safety and stability in a storm

When the weather suddenly changed for the worse during a road trip, today’s contributor prayed to understand that God’s protecting love and care were right at hand.

The kids and I recently got back from a cross-country trip. We traveled from New Hampshire to Yellowstone via parts of Canada and the United States. We had a very loose itinerary, stopping when something looked interesting, such as the Grand Canyon, the Jolly Green Giant statue in Minnesota, or the Gateway Arch in Missouri. It was an amazing adventure!

One morning, as we were leaving the sand dunes of Mesa Verde in Colorado and traveling to New Mexico, I had been watching the sky grow darker and more ominous. Suddenly a vicious storm hit. The wind rocked our RV so hard that I thought we might topple. The rain made it difficult to see. It did not seem safe to pull over, as I had no idea whether another car was behind me or in front. Nor could I see what was on either side of us.

In this moment of need, what came to thought was a favorite hymn that begins:

In heavenly Love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid;
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?
(Anna L. Waring, “Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 148)

There’s a popular saying, “The only thing that is constant in life is change.” But this hymn pointed me to something that never changes: God. The Bible says, “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6).

To me, this means that if God doesn’t change, then all that He creates – including us, as His beloved spiritual children – is always protected, cared for, and watched over. Governments, jobs, houses, relationships, and weather may change. But the things that are constant are the things that originate in God, good, which we cannot see or touch – spiritual qualities such as love, life, health, goodness, harmony.

So safety and stability cannot fluctuate, because they come from God, who does not change. Accepting this as spiritual fact helps us experience it more in our lives – no matter our employment status, where we are traveling, or what we face along the way. But how this truth keeps us safe is not always in the way we are expecting.

That was the case during the storm. Knowing that God’s unchanging care was round about my children calmed my fear. And as I considered these ideas, I had a clear intuition that I should make a left-hand turn. The GPS didn’t say that was our route, and everything around us was stormy, so at first this didn’t seem to make sense. We were traveling parallel to the winds, and it seemed that if we turned, a gust of wind might broadside and topple us. But I felt a clear sense that the idea was inspiration from God, so I turned onto a dirt road called Route 12.

Within minutes, we were out of the storm. It was still stormy behind us, but ahead of us, on our new route, the sun came out and a beautiful rainbow blanketed the sky as if to say, “I will always take care of you.” I remember pulling over, embracing my kids, and just giving thanks. After this experience, we all realized that the one thing that would always be constant on our travels was God’s care and inspiration. We just needed to be receptive to it.

Yes, there are times and situations that seem anything but stable. But God’s steady care, God’s goodness, and God’s boundless love for each of us never change.

That hymn referenced earlier goes on to say:

Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen;
Bright skies will soon be o’er me,
Where darkest clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure,
My path in life is free;
My Father has my treasure,
And He will walk with me.

What more could we ask?

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