Anyone who has driven along Interstate 40, especially in the summer, has a deep and abiding appreciation for those little rest stop shelters that provide a bit of shade along the way. Even when there’s a hot wind blowing, it’s amazing how important a 10 x 12 tin roof can be!
Many years ago we purchased an EZ-Up…you know, one of those pop-up tents you see at sporting events, swap meets, picnics….just about everywhere people want to be assured they will have a shelter. We originally bought it to use when our kids where in team swimming, and it sure made those all-day swim meets more comfortable. Not only was it a shade from the sun, but it also provided a space – a 10×10 plot of grass for us to call our own to stash blankets, towels, coolers and lawn chairs. Even long after our swim meet days were through, we continued to find many uses for the EZ-Up: church events, downtown farmer’s market booth, camping shade, yard sales….who knew there would be so many different occasions one could use some portable shelter?
For the past year, since we moved into our new home, the EZ-Up has once again been serving us, this time as a backyard patio awning. We really should have retired the old thing long ago; it’s been duct taped and patched so many times, it’s almost become a game to see how much longer we can keep it up! But, all in all, it continues to serve its purpose – to provide shelter.
The rain I was waiting for all day yesterday arrived in the middle of the night, along with a pretty strong wind. Sometime in the late afternoon I walked by the patio doors and immediately noticed something was different. Even on a cloudy day, there is still usually a shady patch under the EX-Up just outside the glass doors. And today there was……not. I looked outside and, sure enough the EX-Up was just…..gone. The wind has moved it a few feet in past storms, so I looked to the north, the direction it usually scoots. Nope, not there. I opened the door and stepped outside, expecting to see that it had moved all the way to the north fence, about 30 feet away. Still no EZ-Up…..it was just…..gone. And then as my eyes were scanning the yard for any signs of how it had disappeared, I spotted the familiar faded green & white stripes……at the bottom of the pool.
It was the strangest sensation to see this faithful friend of a shelter now sunken and twisted at the bottom of the deep end of the pool. We’ll fish it out (when the rain lets up) but I’m afraid its days of providing shelter are done. The aluminum poles and canvas top, while plenty sturdy for the casual outside event, were no match for the violent wind gusts and driving rain of today.
And that made me consider the other kinds of shelters I depend on in my life. So much of what we may think of as “sturdy” can actually be more temporary than we’d like to think about, and it’s so important to not be caught off-guard in a storm and be swept away when….
a job is terminated…..
a home is lost…..
a loved one becomes seriously ill…..
When we place all our hope and security on things that can change, sometimes without warning, well….we are bound to be thrown off balance when life brings situations we just can’t predict or control.
I’m so thankful that I have the assurance that no matter what may come or what is lost, I have an anchor that will hold in any storm. It may get rough….I may need to hold on tight and wait the worst of it out….but even then, I won’t be swept away. I’m safe….I’m secure….I’m saved – every time.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1