Rainy weather is my favorite weather. I love the overcast skies; I relish in the gusty wind that accompanies the big fat raindrops falling to the ground; I savor the smell of rain; I enjoy feeling the rumbling thunder deep in my chest; I delight in the crackling lightning as it flashes through the dark skies, making everything visible, even if only for a moment. And my favorite thing about rainy days is the sound of the raindrops pounding against my window.
Now, as I watch the raindrops slide down the glass panes of my dining room windows, I am reminded of a similarly rainy day years ago. I was at home with my mother and two older brothers, and although it was midday, the sky was nearly black. A violent storm raged outside our tiny 1,300 square foot house which sat in the middle of our little Texas town. In the very midst of the storm, as our windows rattled and the resounding thunder echoed throughout the house, we heard the trilling ring of our doorbell. A cold and wet UPS woman stood at our porch-less front door, soggy package in hand. She gingerly held it out to us along with the “Confirmation of Delivery” paper that awaited Momma’s signature. Behind the woman, we saw a lighting bolt crack and light up the skies, and we heard the thunder release the kind of blast you could feel in your chest and fingertips; the house trembled. The poor lady was drenched and shivering in the relentless storm. Upon seeing the nearby lightning and hearing the angry thunder, Momma insisted that the lady come inside to wait for the storm to calm. The lady hesitated, apparently unsure of whether it would be acceptable for her to agree, but as the deluge continued and the thunder cracked, leaving our ears ringing, she gratefully acquiesced. For the next ten minutes, she stood in our front entryway, chilled to the bone and shivering as the violent storm crashed and howled outside. My brothers, my mother, and I plied her with hot tea, cranked up the heater, and did everything we possibly could do to serve the UPS woman who had been caught in the thunderstorm. The deluge had only slightly relented when the woman thanked us and abruptly rushed back into the blasting storm.
When she left, Momma and I stood at the window and looked out over the pools of water gathering in our front yard and reflecting the ominous dark skies. She seemed lost in thought as she wrapped her arms around my tiny shoulders, and prayed, “Oh Lord, please keep the poor woman safe.” Then she stopped for a moment, and murmured, “You never know when you could be entertaining angels unaware.”
Looking back, Mom may have been right: maybe we were entertaining an angel. Or maybe we were just providing a cold, wet lady a temporary reprieve from a storm. I suppose I may never know.
But reflecting on this story makes it clearer for me to see how easily I can say that I love raindrops pounding against my window from this side of the window. I doubt I would like thunderstorms so much if I were ever caught in a storm with no shelter. “The gusty wind” may not seem so appealing if I were being tossed to and fro like a rag doll with each blast of cold air. The overcast skies may not be so lovely if I were unable to see anything clearly. The rumbling thunder might not be so enjoyable if it were shaking my world apart.
Sitting inside this warm house, sipping coffee and looking out my window, it’s easy to forget that others aren’t so fortunate. It’s easy to forget how many people need shelter from a storm in their life, whether that storm be divorce, death, tragedy, illness, strife, abuse, assault, depression, or addiction.
Regardless of what kind of storms we may see through our front windows, this I know: He remains the ultimate and sovereign Hiding Place, and we are His vessels. Let our hands be the hands that show love and healing to others caught in the storms of life.
Oh, Lord, use my hands, my home, my time, my words, my gifts and my life as a shelter for whomever may be suffering through a storm. You are a cleft (Ex. 33:18-23), a hiding place for Your people. May we never forget it.
“You are my Hiding Place and my shield; I hope in Your word.” -Psalm 119:114
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see them naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” -Isaiah 58:6-7
So now, as I watch each raindrop slide down the windowpane and greedily devour other beaded raindrops, as I hear them patter against the glass, I am reminded of that day, years ago, when we brought warm towels to the wet UPS lady in our front entryway. As the raindrops shower down, the Lord reminds me that He is my hiding place.