Sheltered From the Rain

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Some people like the rain. Personally, while I recognize we need it and have learned to be thankful for it, I hate it. Oh, I had my days of fun in the rain: splashing in puddles, dancing through the park in it, playing soccer (well, really more like mudball)…

As a child and young adult, I had a fair appreciation for the rain. But as an older, hopefully wiser adult, my preferences have changed. I prefer to be warm and dry rather than cold and wet. And I have found other ways to have fun, none of which involve standing in a rainstorm and looking like a drowned cat. At my age, it takes a good amount of energy to get myself ready in the mornings, so I find it rather wasteful to then walk out into the rain and ruin what I’ve just spent too much time trying to put together. There are other reasons why I prefer to stay out of the rain, but you get the picture, so I’ll leave it at that.

Maybe you’re one of the people who still like the rain and actually enjoy being out in it. There’s nothing wrong with that personal preference. But for the purpose of this blog, I want to look at the rain from another angle. Rather than speak about rain in its natural, physical sense, I want to refer to rain in a spiritual sense. This could take on several meanings: one being the rain of Heaven which brings the presence, favor and rule of God. We pray for this kind of rain, which includes His reign, and results in everything under it prospering. This is the kind of rain we desire. Everyone wants to experience the blessings of God.

There is also, however, another spiritual sense in which we use the word rain. That sense refers to the rain that comes in like a storm, leaving destruction in its wake. This is the kind of rain we don’t want to be stuck in. These are the rains of chaos, tragedy, and confusion. This is the kind of rain we hope to escape, the kind of rain we seek shelter from, rather than run out to play in.

This is the kind of rain I want to write about today, because there are so many people who don’t know that God intended for us to have a shelter from this kind of storm. It’s true that we can’t avoid encountering trouble in this life. Storms will come, and they will bring devastation when they do, but there will always be a hiding place for those who want it. That hiding place won’t sweep you up and away with any kind of magical power, but it will preserve you in the midst of every storm from the power of the enemy’s plans for your life and your future. It will preserve your peace, your sanity, and your future, when you choose to tuck yourself underneath it.

That shelter is the Covenant relationship we have with God.

It’s the agreement we make when we say “yes” to Him. It’s also the agreement He makes when He accepts our “yes”…an agreement which He bound Himself to long before that “yes” left our lips, really. Because He entered into His side of the agreement when He formed us in our mothers’ wombs. The shelter of His Covenant love and the promises that come with it have been in place since the beginning of time, because He is the God Who is love. Therefore, His love is and always has been eternal.

The covenant, however, becomes active and binding when we enter into, and remain submitted to it, willingly. When we say “yes” to Jesus, the shelter is erected. The umbrella is raised. And from that moment on, we are meant to live beneath its covering, operating in one purpose with God.

What is that purpose? Unity. Having the same mind as He has. Moving with Him, instead of separate from Him. Desiring what He desires. Allowing Him to transform us more and more into His likeness – becoming more like Him, and more like we were originally created to be. With every decision. With every emotion. With every thought. With every situation.

When we step out of unity, we step out of purpose. And when we step out of unity and therefore purpose, we step out from underneath the umbrella of God’s covenant covering. This is where so many people find themselves stuck, and battered by the storms of life…wondering why God isn’t doing anything to protect them or help them. In reality, He is. They just aren’t standing under the shade of the shelter where He is doing it.

One of the reasons this might be so difficult for us to understand is that the shelter of God’s covenant is a picture of divine relationship, which translates to marriage and family. Since most of the marriages and families we’ve seen and known in our day have been shipwrecked in the storms of life, we might have to reach a little bit (or a lotta bit) to see what God actually intended for these relationships. We might have to allow our faith to be stretched beyond the disappointments that have wrecked our hopes for the possibility of something more. We might have to let God recreate some pictures for us, if we are going to let ourselves reconsider that God’s plans are actually still good.

But the stretching is worth it. In fact, it is necessary, if we want to know the kind of shelter we were meant to in the storms of life.

So let’s take a little journey back in time. When God created man, He saw that it was not good for him to be alone. So God created woman, a companion for the man. When He brought them together, He created the covenant of marriage. And from that covenant of a man and a woman in covenant with God, family came forth. This was God’s idea, and it was so good…until one person stepped out from under the umbrella of God’s covering.

Maybe Eve didn’t think she needed a covering. Afterall, she was naked an unashamed. Maybe she didn’t see the need for God’s umbrella of covenant because she had never seen rain. There was no devastation touching her life at that point. My guess is simply that she didn’t recognize the covering she was created to live under. There are many people today who live in the same unawareness.

When the enemy came, tempting Eve to step out from under the umbrella of covenant, he craftily appealed to her identity apart from the God she was created to be in intimate relationship with (a study of the names “God”, which satan used, and “Lord God” which Adam and Eve were created by will reveal this).

Don’t miss this – satan tempted Eve to process a decision out from underneath the umbrella of covenant relationship with her God and with her husband….and that’s when she fell. He drew her away from her covering of purpose and unity, and that’s when the rains began to fall. That’s when chaos and darkness and devastation entered into humanity. God never meant for us to know such things. We chose them…when we stepped out from under God’s purpose for us, His relationship with us, and His vision for our lives.

We are still doing the same thing today. We’ve tasted life outside of the way God intended for it to be, and the enemy has convinced many of us that it will never be any other way. We can’t get back to covenant love. We can’t see marriage be what it was intended to be. Our families will always be broken.

The enemy has always been and still is a liar.

What I want to propose to you today, Dear Woman of Breakthrough, is a return to the shelter you were made to live beneath. Life on God’s terms might not be easy in a world that offers so many other terms to live by, but it still holds the promises of covenant love. It still holds the hope of all that God has promised. And the hidden promise of life outside of this covering is that you and I can never have what God has promised while we live beyond the covering of His covenant.

I don’t know what your life looks like right now. I don’t know what your marriage or your family looks like – or what they have looked like. I know what mine looks like, and what it has looked like in the past. Hopeless is probably the best word I can find to describe our family history. But God has opened up my eyes in recent weeks to see that there is a covering He is still holding out to me, and to us. No matter what things may look or feel like (or how they have looked or felt in the past), He still has good plans for me, and for us. Plans that can only be discovered under the umbrella of life done His way.

Here’s the place of alignment, the starting point for jumping in under His covering: joining together. You and I, Dear Woman of God, must join ourselves together with God (on His terms), as in a healthy marriage. And then we must join ourselves together with the family of God. No family is perfect, but all family is perfectly designed to bring about the growth and maturity we need in order to see the fullness of God’s plans for all of our lives.

You and I can’t drag anyone else in under the umbrella of God’s covering, but we can sure run there ourselves, choosing to trust that God is big enough to deal with our husbands (if we have one) and our children, as we submit ourselves completely to the covenant we said “yes” to.

I wonder if we could commit, or recommit ourselves today to live as Women Under God? I wonder if we could come in out of the rain of destruction which the enemy has tempted us to believe is fun and flirty – and instead take shelter beneath the umbrella of God’s promises? I wonder if, the next time the enemy would tempt us to come out and play in the rain, we could choose to stay hidden in the will of God – even if might seem like a lot less fun in the moment? I wonder what kind of life we might discover if we become willing to stay under the umbrella of covenant – God’s love, under God’s rule, in God’s way and time…no matter what befalls us?

I don’t know about you, but I’m determined to live there. I want what God wants for me, for my marriage and for my family. You can watch and see from the flooded sidelines, or you can join me and get back on the path to promise today. The choice is yours, but so are the consequences. I wonder what would happen if we were awakened to see the reality behind our choices? My guess is that we would all be Women Under God, united in purpose, and the world would see that life as God designed it is beautiful indeed.

Dear Woman of Breakthrough, God is holding out the umbrella of His covenant to you and I today. His love is faithful. His way brings life. In a world that is daily tasting death, we have the opportunity to escape it. But there is truly only one way: His name is Jesus. He alone is the good Shepherd Who will lead us into the abundant life which God has truly promised, and will most certainly fulfill, for those who choose to follow Him.

{Photo images courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com}

 

 

 

 


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