A Shelter In The Storm

As I thought about what I might share today to comfort and encourage Trevor’s family and each of us who have come here today, I couldn’t help but think of a book in our church library entitled What is a Family? by Edith Shaeffer.

In her book she gives some wise, wonderful and meaningful answers to this question.

A family is …

A door that has hinges and a lock
A birthplace of creativity
A place where truth is passed along
A museum of memories

I’m quite sure that Trevor’s family would definitely agree that this has been their experience as a family—their family has been filled with creativity and truth—their family will always have and will continue to build a museum of memories.

But the phrase that captured my attention the most is this one.

What is a family? A family is… A shelter in the time of storm!

In the midst of the difficulties and storms of life a family is …

A refuge
A sanctuary
A place of safety
A place of security
A place of protection

It is quite clear to me and to Trevor’s family that they have experienced many places of shelter as they, along with Trevor, courageously battled so many difficulties and storms of life.

Terry, Sandy, Samantha, Tyler and Tanner—you have been an example to all of us as you provided a wonderful loving and supportive shelter for Trevor and for each other as you faced so many storms in your lives together.

Trevor’s extended family has provided protection, loving support and security during these challenging years as well. So many of you have provided a place of safety and protection—places of security and peace. You have provided places of support, love and encouragement.

I know that each family member expresses deep gratitude and thankfulness to each of you for providing a place of shelter for them.

Many times in life and certainly at times like this, all of us need to be reminded that there is a shelter that even surpasses the protection and support that has been given to Trevor’s family by us.

This is a shelter that is acknowledged when someone tells us they are praying for us.

This is a shelter that Trevor’s mom Sandy was looking for when she and my wife Cindy kept in touch by phone and email asking for prayer for Trevor as he faced some particularly challenging days.

This is a shelter that Trevor’s grandmother Patricia so strongly believed in. When we met her this past spring at the hospital, Patricia told us that she had people in many places around the world praying for Trevor.

I know that Trevor’s family deeply appreciated the prayers that were prayed on behalf of Trevor and they know that these prayers gave Trevor so many extra precious days, months and years with them.

This place of shelter is best expressed by several paragraphs from the Bible:

God is our refuge and strength,
An ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Though the earth give way
And the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
Though its waters roar and foam
And the mountains quake with their surging.

– Psalm 46:1-3

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD,
“ He is my refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust.”

– Psalm 91:1-2

Listen to my prayer, O God,
Do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught.
My heart is in anguish within me;
The terrors of death assail me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
Horror has overwhelmed me.
“Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest –
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
Far from the tempest and storm.”
Cast your cares on the LORD
And He will sustain you

– Psalm 55:1-2; 4-8; 22

I lift up my eyes to the hills –
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
The Maker of heaven and earth.

– Psalm 121:1-2

The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk
Through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
All the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

– Psalm 23

I know we all wonder if God is really present. Does He really care about me personally and does He care about what I am going through?

These words of comfort from the Bible remind us that God is present—always present and He invites us to experience His strength, His comfort, His shelter in our daily experiences of life.

Yesterday during the visitation at the funeral home, I saw two things amongst the many photos, news clippings and other personal items displayed in remembrance of Trevor that speak of this wonderful shelter that God provides for us.

There was a green wooden heart with a wooden base and a teddy bear with wings peering from behind the heart with these words: “Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift.” God gives us each day as a gift and He desires that we are aware of His gracious and caring presence with us as we face each day.

There was also a ceramic bell with a little boy sucking his thumb and he was carrying a little bear. The bell was inscribed with the words “Jesus gave me a new heart.” This was literally true for Trevor who was twice blessed with donated hearts.

What gratitude he and his family expressed on a daily basis for such amazing gifts. In a similar deeply spiritual sense, God asks us to open ourselves to Him so He can bless us with “new hearts” that will daily acknowledge Him.

In the midst of life and all that we experience – whether wonderful or overwhelming —God wants us to have hearts of gratitude that thank Him for the incredible gifts He has given us.

God is a shelter! Is He your shelter? Don’t miss His comfort, strength and support!
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

Dean Westacott

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