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In the Midst of a Storm

I woke at about 2:30 a.m. The wind was howling, snow blowing. The unexpected blizzard concerned me, as our horses had been left out in a relatively unprotected pasture. Hugh heard me stirring, got up to feed the wood stove. “Where are you going?” he asked, wiping sleep out of his eyes. I had donned heavy sweat pants over my pajamas, was pulling into hat, mittens, barn coat.

“I need to put the horses in,” I said. “The wind chill out there has got to be brutal.”
“Wait a minute, I’ll go with you,” he offered. We dickered over this for a moment, but his persistence won out over my weak protests.

The horses were milling around out back of the barn, obviously wanting to be let in from the cold. Extremely heavy gusts of wind caused the old frame building to creak and groan. Our barn consists of two separate sections, and each horse is stalled on one side or the other. There are separate doors for the two sections. Each horse knows which door leads to its own personal stall, and will generally stand outside the door that opens to that section of the barn when waiting to be brought inside. I usually open one door at a time and allow the horses to saunter to their stalls at liberty. Tonight, however, the wind had whipped them into an excited frenzy.

I opened the first barn door, and a horse that didn’t belong in that portion of the barn raced in past me, nearly knocking me down in its haste. Another horse, crusted with snow, followed closely behind. The white blanket prevented me from being able to immediately identify the second horse. Before I got a chance to take a closer look, it whirled and rushed back out the open door, with the first horse quickly following suite.

It was good Hugh decided to help out that night, as it became increasingly apparent that, although the horses all wanted to be inside where it was safe and warm, the wind and cold was causing them to act uncharacteristically nervous and fearful. Hugh and I spent nearly an hour, much of it out in the wind and cold, catching each horse and leading it into the barn and over to its own stall. Another hour passed before they’d all been fed, watered, and settled down enough that we could leave them to their own devices. Finally, at nearly 5 a.m., we dragged ourselves back to the house and crawled into bed for a fitful hour or two of sleep.

The horses’ behavior reminded me of how foolish I must appear to the Lord when various winds of testing and trial blow into my life. He bids me to take refuge in the familiar, safe refuge of His presence–to wait out the storm. Instead, I tend to rush wildy to and fro, mindlessly blunder into the wrong places, run to Him and back away from Him, almost at the same instant. I allow the wind, the scary noises in dark places, to shake my faith in His desire and ability to afford me protection from the storms of life. Even after He’s induced me to enter into the place of safety and rest, I stomp my feet and jump nervously at every noise, afraid after all that my ‘house’ may fall down around me, leaving my life a heap of rubble.

How much less stress I would suffer, and trouble would be avoided, if I would simply learn to truly abide in Him with total trust, and peaceful surrender to His will!

Isaiah 25:4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones [is] as a storm [against] the wall.

Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
 

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