Monday, October 19, 2015

WATERPROOF???


Pitter-patter.

That's how it began.

With the innocent, quiet sound of tiny raindrops gently tapping at our tent.

Until…

Let me tell you the story.


Last week, desperately needing some time away, "The Hub" and I decided to spend five days and nights camping in Joshua Tree National Park.

Might I just say that our version of camping involves an air mattress, sleeping bags, and a tent.

Yes, I'm rather proud of myself, proud of the fact that at 61 years of age, I'm still willing (and able) to *rough it.*  I think that deserves a round of applause…

(Go ahead.  I'll wait…)

On Monday and Tuesday, we decided to go exploring.

There are some interesting places to see.  

Joshua Tree was an area where quite a bit of mining took place in the late 1800's, early 1900's.  One day we trekked to a site where two wooden structures are still standing, and mining equipment lays abandoned.

We hiked. 

Uphill.

A very steep hill.

The next day we ventured forth to explore the ruins of an old ranch site, a stamp mill for processing ore, and a dam built to harness rainwater.  (The water level was waaaay down – the drought continues in our water-starved state).

We hiked.

Through a desert.

A very hot desert.

Yes, both days the temperatures soared into the 90's.

As I trudged along – soaked in sweat, tired, thirsty, hungry, achy, and a bit dizzy – I pondered the story of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness.  How vulnerable He must have been when Satan appeared to Him.

Forty days.

Let me tell you, after two days I was done.

But that is a post for perhaps another day.

Today I'm talking about water.


OK, so Wednesday we decided to just hang out at our campsite.  I did word puzzles and read a great mystery book.  "The Hub" read books about Joshua Tree, and cut up firewood.

That night, after some restful hours around the campfire, we retired to our tent to sleep the night away.

Uh, yeah.

That didn't quite happen.

Sometime in the middle of the night, I awoke.  And somehow in that twilight state of *not-quite-asleep-but-not-quite-awake,* I became aware of a tapping noise.  As I gradually reentered consciousness, I realized what I was hearing.

Rain.

I woke up "The Hub" so he could help me close all the vents in the tent.

While we were doing that, we kept seeing flashes of light and hearing distant rumbling.  Being the adventuresome twosome that we are, we decided to go outside.

Boy oh boy!  Am I glad we did!

We stood under the protection of the popup tent that we use for shade…(and in this case, rain!).  And for over an hour, "The Hub" and I watched the most spectacular thunder and lightning storm we have ever seen!

Giant forked lightning flashed every 4-5 seconds, all around us, lighting up the surrounding landscape like a strobe light, and lingering in our vision like rays from the sun.  This was followed by booming thunder, mostly far away, but some so close that the loud crack made me jump.

Fortunately, I am not afraid of thunderstorms.

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that my mother told me as a young child that it just meant that God was rearranging His furniture, and testing to make sure His lights worked!

What a display!

It was awesome, in every sense of that word – astonishing, beautiful, breathtaking, impressive, magnificent, stunning, wondrous.

You know, lately I've been pining (whining?) over the fact that I can't see God – not in real, actual, physical ways.

This night, I think He appeared in all His power, glory, and majesty – and said out loud to me:

HERE. I. AM.

Yup, it was really something to behold.


Around 3:30 AM, we decided to go back to bed.

And that's when the *fun* began.

Once we were all settled again (or so we thought), a strange thing happened.

Drip.  Drip.  Drip.

"The Hub" asked me, "Did you feel something?"

"No," I replied.

But then I did.

And, upon turning on the lantern, we discovered the problem.

Our "waterproof" tent was not…

You see, many tents come with a rainfly(In basic terms, a fly is a tent without walls, and generally used for keeping out moisture – such as condensation or rain – while people rest or sleep).  

Our tent did not come with a rainfly because it was advertised to be waterproof.

Right.

Like lo-fat ice cream is advertised to be diet-conscious.

Fortunately, "The Hub" is always prepared!  

And this trip he had thoughtfully brought a (truly) waterproof tarp that he quickly jury-rigged over our sieve-tent abode.

Problem solved.

It took me a long time to fall back to sleep.  And as I lay there, I got to thinking about the whole idea of being waterproof.

And that made me think about Noah.


God instructed Noah to build an ark.  

And contrary to popular opinion, he did just that.  

In fact, Noah did everything that the Lord commanded him to do.  And yet, there was one thing that God did not ask Noah to do.

He didn't ask him to close the door of the ark.

Have you ever noticed that one small, but oh-so-crucial detail in the story of the flood?

God had led Noah step-by-step in all his preparations.  And now, just before the tempest began, He didn't finish by saying, "OK, Noah, now it's time to lock the door."

No, this task He reserved for Himself:

"And the LORD shut him in."  (Genesis 7:16, ESV)


Obviously, God had Noah and his family firmly in His grasp.  

And it was He, the great I AM, who was going to ensure their security.

Their safety in the flood was not going to depend on themselves.  

Rather, their protection was going to be dependent upon The One of whom it is said, "…and what he shuts no one can open."  (Revelation 3:7, NIV)

Noah and his family, and all that God had deemed to enter the ark, could rest in peace.  Through the long days and weeks and months of waiting, they were all perfectly saferight in the center of God's will and provident protection.

God completed Noah's work by hemming him in, covering him round about with divine guardianship.

Is that not a sweet image?!

Now yes, God protected Noah from the rage of wicked men.  But He also preserved him from the violence of the mighty floodwaters.

God indeed made Noah waterproof.


Can we not apply this familiar story to our own lives?

Can we not find comfort in the sure knowledge that we are also hemmed in by a loving and protective God?

YES!

Divine defense.

I all too often lose sight of that concept.


Last week I talked about the incident when Moses and the Israelites found themselves trapped between the onrushing armies of Pharaoh and the impassable waters of the Red Sea.

And while I was reading that familiar story, I noticed something I hadn't really thought about before – these words (which I've underlined in context):

"Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp.  The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them.  The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps." (Exodus 14:19-20, NLT)


When danger was present, what did God do?

HE. MOVED.

He moved between the people He loved and the forces of danger.

He stood behind them, and watched the enemy camp Himself, keeping it at bay –

".…the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night." (vs. 20)


Do you see what God did here?

He did just exactly what He did for Noah!

He stood between His beloved children and the onrushing rage of enemies(wicked people, wicked forces in the unseen world).

And, He also protected His people from raging waters.

(Notice that God made Moses and His people *waterproof* as they walked through the Red Sea!)


Dear friends, this is also what God does for us!

He literally *has our backs* when it comes to everything that menaces us.

He stands against the forces that threaten to overpower us.  He stands against persecution and the enemy attacks that threaten to overtake us.  He stands against the raging waters of life that threaten to overwhelm us.  

He hems us in with His loving Presence, guarding us against all that would come up against us.

He protects us.

We are not asked to rely on ourselveswe do not need to "shut the door"for we are held by the only One on whom we can truly depend, the only unfailing and unchanging Person we know – God Himself.

HE shuts us in.

HE stands behind and between.

HE makes us *waterproof* against the floods of life, in whatever form they come.


"And the LORD shut him in."

Yes, it is He, the great I AM, who ensures our safety and security.

He has provided the door for us to enter into His salvation, and He has closed it firmly behind us.

"'I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved…'" 
(John 10:9, NKJV)

(Matthew Henry's commentary: "…and so when he brings a soul to Christ, the salvation is sure: it is not in our own keeping, but in the Mediator's hand.")


You know, that night in the tent I learned a lot.

And I was once again reassured that even in the midst of intense and furious and violent storms, that no matter how strongly they assail me, I am safe and secure in the everlasting arms of the Lord.

The One who shuts me in forever.

The One who makes me *Living Water-proof.*






God made the earth
by His power.
He founded the world
by His wisdom,
and stretched out the heavens
by His understanding.
When He thunders,
the waters in the heavens roar.
He makes clouds rise
from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning
with the rain
and brings out the wind
from His storehouses.

The LORD on high
is mighty.










What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

From the hymn, "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms," (Showalter and Hoffman, 1887)



"And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock." (Matthew 7:25, NASB)

"When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever." (Proverbs 10:25, NIV)

"…blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.  They are like trees planted along a riverbank.  Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit." 
(Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT)

"The eternal God is your shelter, and his everlasting arms support you.  He will force your enemies out of your way…" (Deuternomy 33:27, GOD'S WORD)


"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].

I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust [with great confidence, and on whom I rely]!'

For He will save you…

He will cover you and completely protect you with His pinions,
And under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and a wall.

You will not be afraid of the terror of night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction (sudden death) that lays waste at noon.

A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But danger will not come near you.

Because you have made the Lord, [who is your] refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,

No evil will befall you…

For He will command His angels in regard to you,
To protect and defend and guard you in all your ways [of obedience and service].

They will lift you up in their hands,
So that you do not [even] strike your foot against a stone.

[The LORD says]:

'Because he set his love on Me, therefore I will save him;
I will set him [securely] on high, because he knows My name [he confidently trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never abandon him, no, never].

He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him…

And I will let him see My salvation.'"

(From Psalm 91, AMP)



Had any *floods* lately?  How does God make you *waterproof*?!



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, SMALL WONDERMONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, REFLECT LINKUP, WORDS WITH WINTER, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING MONDAY, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, SOLI DEO GLORIAUNITE LINKUP, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, RA RA LINKUP, INTENTIONAL TUESDAY, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, TELL HIS STORY, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYA LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, WISE WOMAN, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, WOMEN WITH INTENTION, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, JOYHOPELIVE LINKUP, THE (NOT JUST) HOMEMAKING PARTY, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAYTHURSDAY FAVORITE THINGS, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, LIVE FREE THURSDAY, EVERYDAY JESUS, GRACE AT HOME, SHINE LINKUP, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, LOOKING UP, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAY, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, FAITH 'N FRIENDS, FAITH & FELLOWSHIP, GRACE & TRUTH, TGI SATURDAYS, DANCE WITH JESUS, STILL SATURDAY, WEEKEND WHISPERS, SMALL VICTORIES SUNDAY, SUNDAY STILLNESS, GIVE ME GRACE, SOCIAL BUTTERFLY SUNDAY


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

27 comments:

  1. Your story reminds me why I don't go camping anymore. ha. We seem to always invite rain--inside our tent. :) But seriously, I would like to go camping again because despite the difficulties, it is glorious being outside with God. You made that sound inviting. Thanks, Sharon!

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  2. Oh Sharon ... so thankful we're WATER PROOF! What a fabulous tent tale and adventure you and the "Hubs" were able to have and enjoy (somewhat) and wonderful application! Just love how you wrote this and the lessons you passed on to us especially all the part after "Dear Friends... to the Bible part once again of God shut him in..." So thankful for how HE covers us as we lean on Him! Glad you had some time to "rough it" and relax. Now rest in Him... (zzzzz) I can't think of any recent flood or waterproof experience but I think I hear the pitter patter sound so maybe I will have one shortly ... meanwhile I (too) am safe and secure in the everlasting arms of the Lord. Many blessings and much love~Peggy

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  3. I so admire you Sharon for going camping and roughing it with camping in a tent! WTG girl!!!! Sounded like such an awesome storm you saw; would have loved to observe it for myself :)

    I love your late night ponderings and how you share them with us. I am glad that God literally has our back, our sides, our fronts, our everything! So reassuring when we completely trust in him!

    betty

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  4. Hi Sharon! Now you know I'm going to clap for you!! Way to 'rough it' my friend!
    I would have so enjoyed that thunderstorm, along with the lightening. I LOVE thunderstorms. I'm just so glad that the Lord kept you safe (and the Hubs) in all the excitement. And leaky tents? Oh my gosh, I have several stories of tents leaking on our camping trips. So miserable!

    But God does stand in the gap for us, He does save and protect. What a beautiful example of His great love and care for you. And I have to give props to the Hubs for bringing the tarp that saved you from a shower INSIDE the tent!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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  5. Sharon, somehow even without a meme or a thumbnail, I always seem to know which posts are yours in the linkups (Playdates With God). I do always love your posts. And I am VERY impressed with your roughing it--and even more impressed that you were not afraid of being struck by lightning! I love how you segued into The Great I AM shutting the door of the ark. He does indeed make us waterproof. Such a wonderful post!

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  6. In this world we will have tribulation . . .
    Seems to be pretty much a given that we will have to endure leaky tents and rain that inconveniently falls on our camping trip. Thank you for words today that help me to see that, although I am not immune to inconvenience and suffering, I can come through it without "getting soggy."

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  7. There is honestly only one time I will use the word Awesome and it is to describe God or something He has done. You have described Awesome in spades with the rainstorm and light show you got to witness.

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  8. Tent camping is my favorite too. It sounds like an adventure to watch the thunderstorm with your man in the middle of the night. I like the picture of being "water proofed" by God. Thanks for that encouraging word!

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  9. We haven't been to Joshua Tree in a few years. How awesome that you were camping with a tent and really ruffing it! I saw those forked lighting rods in the early mornings last week, they woke me up in Riverside. Can't believe your were right there in them. Glad your husband brought that tarp.
    I was always told that the angels were bowling.......

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  10. What a delightful adventure - a get away and then a demonstration of a God Show in the night! Amazing that your hubby was prepared to cover your waterproof tent with a tarp. I enjoyed your illustrations and truly we are kept safe by His power even in the storm. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a True Story.

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  11. This is beautiful! Thanks so much for the encouragement! Love hearing about your adventure and how God spoke to you through it! :)

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  12. Oh how I love a good rain/thunder/lightning storm! (In the natural, of course! LOL!) Such power and glory on display and yes - I am so thankful that He is our covering and keeps us safe in the storms!

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  13. Love what you did with this, Sharon! What a word picture and a story! He does shut us in, go before us, around us, behind us. So beautiful!

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  14. I gotta give you credit. Not for just enduring the two nights of camping, but for embracing it! I'd be doing some heavy duty whining about having to go out and drape the tarp in the down pour! Love your lesson and how you find the hand and heart of God in all ways and places.

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  15. Have I told you how much I love how your brain/Jesus heart works? Love the humor in this post AND the great message. As usual. Just all the things. Thank you Sharon!

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  16. I'm in awe of you Sharon for embracing the whole camping thing. Something about being in the dark in the middle of woods in a tent makes me want to book the nearest hotel room. Love how you tied it all together.

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  17. Can you hear the thunder of my applause? πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ˜

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  18. Me? I with Wanda. Give me a great hotel with all the creature comforts but having said that being out in the woods is an awe inspiring experience. Happy Weekend.

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  19. Yes, God often reveals his power through His marvelous creation. I loved reading about your camping adventure. I can relate to camping in the rain. I loved how you learned lessons through your experiences. I think the same way.

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  20. Oh, my word! Boy, did I need to read this tonight. Only the dear Lord knows. I LOVE your thoughts on this...how blessed we are to know that we are indeed "waterproof" and how God stood between His children and their enemies. This is just wonderful to think about. I don't know why I haven't learned by now that I need to release everything, every worry, every fear into His grasp. He is in control, and He is to be trusted. His track record proves this! Thank you, dear friend, for sharing the thoughts the dear Lord gave you. He surely knew how much I needed this. Sending you big hugs and blessings from across the miles! God bless you. :)

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  21. God is amazing - your post counts three times I've heard about Jesus' temptation in the wilderness this week alone! Clearly He is speaking directly to me, through you! Blessings and thank you for sharing the message I am meant to hear!

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  22. Sharon, I love,love,love this wonderful post! Love how your experiences take you right back to Scripture, promises from the Word of God and great old hymns from my childhood too! As a 62 year-old grandmother, I'm right there with you, every word...many blessings to you1

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  23. Awesome post, Sharon! Thanks so much for sharing! GOD bless you, beautiful friend! :-)

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  24. Thank you for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

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  25. I love camping and rain doesn't bother me. Great post! Thanks for linking up with Thursday Favorite Things!

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  26. You are brave! I tell my husband camping to me is in a hotel haha! How wonderful to be in nature and be with the Lord though. I might have to take up a camping trip. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week :)

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"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)