A few nights ago I lay awake amidst dull, humid air as my husband’s steady snore quietly hummed around our little bedroom, bouncing softly off the walls to accompany what was otherwise a perfectly silent night.
It was probably an hour or two after midnight, and I had yet to fall asleep. I stared at my husband, not three inches from me, as a too-familiar jealously overtook my weary body as my thoughts jumped to accuse the unfairness of the situation. The alarm on my cellphone would sound at 5:00am to get us both up for a new day, regardless of how much or how little each had slept.
My foggy thoughts then began marching off in one direction and then the next as I frantically tried to reel them in, unsuccessfully trying to trap and tame them under a desperate prayer for peace, for sleep. How many nights over these past few years had I spent with eyes clamped shut but with my mind spinning onward, struggling against my own utter exhaustion to plead with God that He may grant me sleep?
And then, suddenly — in the midst of flip-flopping from one side to the other, positioning and re-positioning a pillow between my knees or held close to my chest, heart racing and anger rising for another night spent without any semblance or rest — it began to rain. And I mean, really rain.
I could no longer hear Darwin’s maddening snore — before I could even think to remember if we had clothes out on the line, our tin roof had become a chaotic drum set, playing a rather majestic yet frightful series of sounds as so much water hammered down over our little home in the foothills of the mountains.
It rains quite frequently in our part of Honduras, but, even so, whenever a rain of such caliber comes down, you can’t help but shiver with fearful awe at such power.
And then, as strong winds came to accompany the rain in its madness overhead, the thought entered my mind and, with it, a very real sense of worry: What if our roof blows off?
Now, this had never happened to us before, but due to the construction of our home, it would not be a far-off possibility in the face of such a strong storm. In many other occasions — and this one included — the wind had come up under the tin roof with such force that the roof actually does warp and flap, creating an impressive metal-on-metal noise to accompany all the slapping of water on metal.
The thought that immediately followed the first was: That would be absolutely terrible. I mean, everything would get really, really wet.
Sometimes such simple, obvious thoughts are made somehow more special or enlightening when one is so sleep-deprived. I looked, mind drained of energy, over at Darwin, who continued to sleep as if he was completely unaware of any pending danger of losing our roof.
I lay on my back, looking up at our roof but at the same time convinced that at any moment I would be under the direct rain if and when the storm decided to take our roof away. In a daze, as if using a flashlight to light a small path through my mind, I began considering the absolute usefulness of a roof, hoping against hope that we might be able to continue enjoying the benefits of our own.
In rain, to keep dry. And not just people, but objects. Without the roof, the computer gets wet and ruined, all paperwork, other electronics, books, wood furniture over time if it gets enough exposure. Clothes mold. Bed becomes soggy and unusable.
In sun, to keep protected. Otherwise, the direct rays would be almost unbearable.
In snow, the roof provides obvious protection from such cold elements. Who could sleep in their bed under a heavy snowfall if they didn’t have a roof?
Oh, a roof is such a wonderful thing, and I had never truly considered it before now in the face of possibly losing it!
Not only provides protection from the elements but also against bugs and other animals, together with the support of the walls. And, heaven knows, in our home we would be living wild if it weren’t for our little tin roof and cinderblock walls! How many of the bats that we hear and see daily, rats, mosquitos, and other large scurrying animals would be our housemates if it weren’t for our blessed roof!
So, as the wind and the rain howled onward, growing in their anger —I could hardly hear myself think in the midst of such din! — I continued to light up small, forgotten corners of my mind as I remembered all the ways in which a roof is so utterly valuable.
I was then unexpectedly swept up into a sense of newfound awe at just how utterly amazing a roof really is. I mean, we’re facing pounding rain and really strong winds — and I’m not wet! Not even a little bit! It’s as if I’m in another world, apart from the aggressive elements, but, really, this is all thanks to the roof, nothing more. I should be soaking wet — everything outside is! But I’m not. It’s as if I’m not even in close proximity to the storm, because the roof is protecting me.
Then, completely out of nowhere, as if that itty-bitty flashlight that was oh-so-slowly searching the deepest recesses of my mind was suddenly exchanged for a giant light-switch that illuminated everything at once:
“I AM your roof.”
He is my roof. With that, I felt like a thousand new revelations came upon my mind like rain: He is our refuge, our shelter. Literally. In the storms of this life — the chaos, the injustice, the suffering, the stress, the loss — we can hide under Him and remain untouched. There is no longer any rationalizing of this nonsense about falling prey to worry, control, outrage, and fear. The storms of this life that come beating down upon us, howling and threatening to consume us, can actually not even touch us if we remain under the One Roof who cannot be stripped and blown away. The Lord is my refuge; now I understand what that means. To get swept up in the storms of this life, soaking wet with the chaos of this world, is proof that one does not understand this. I have not understood this.
And so I continued to lay there as the storm raged on, but now with my thoughts swept up in awe at the God of Refuge, who — if we dare to trust Him — takes the hit of the rain and the wind so that we may hide beneath Him, untouched in the midst of a land replete with water damage. May He give us the eyes to see this and the faith to live accordingly! Amen.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2
I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest. Psalm 55:8
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Psalm 32:7