Waterspouts occur in the Outer Banks when the conditions are just right. Like a land tornado, a waterspout is a fast column of rotating air and water mist that occurs over a body of water and moves quickly and unpredictably. They are forceful enough to cause great damage, and strong enough to pick up objects as they move along.
I have first-hand knowledge of this, unfortunately. A few years ago my husband and I were on a long walk, and were almost two miles away from home when we spotted a waterspout coming rapidly across the sound toward the harbor. To our horror, it turned and aimed directly toward the area where we were walking.
People were out on their decks watching it move closer. We decided to run up a driveway and take shelter in somebody’s carport when a woman began to yell at us to come into her house. We told her we were OK, but she insisted. The urgency in her voice changed our minds, so we ran into her house just as the waterspout changed direction again and came directly over the houses around us.
We sheltered with this kind woman and her mother for about 30 minutes until the danger had passed. When it was safe to walk home, we discovered that the waterspout had caused quite a bit of damage to the houses around us. A large orange patio umbrella had landed on the roof of the house next to the one were we found refuge. A day later, we found out that it had flown from our next door neighbor’s deck across the marina and landed there. A friend across the canal shot a video of the waterspout hitting our neighbor’s house. It sucked the umbrella straight up out of the table, where it swirled in the spout until finally landing almost two miles away. It was like being in a water version of The Wizard of Oz.
The damage to our house was manageable. Our two large trash cans had flown from the front curb OVER THE HOUSE and landed in the canal out back. A pair of heavy Adirondack chairs was picked up off our dock, and also landed in the water. Loose shingles were all over the yard. But thanks to the intervention of a kind stranger, we were safe.
Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.’
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
‘They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.’
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
It doesn’t take a waterspout to make you realize that there are times in your life when you need to take refuge. God is our permanent place of refuge. In him is all the peace, hope and comfort we need. Apart from him, we have no good thing. Running after the gods of pleasure and distraction (as we are inclined to do) is a faulty plan. God sets boundary lines to keep us safe from harm, and we are wise to observe them.
5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
For the second day in a row we are given a scripture that boldly states, “I shall not be shaken.” Do you think the Holy Spirit might be trying to tell us something??
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
And here again, for the second day in a row, the scripture assures us that we will not be abandoned to death. We know that Jesus brought about the death of death.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Where is God calling you to find refuge in him today? What aspect of your life needs to be carefully placed in the safe shelter of his plan right now? What needs to be left behind so that you can continue on the path of life?
You will not be shaken or abandoned. God is with you in every waterspout and storm…and pandemic. Thanks be to God!