Monday, September 10, 2012

life storms and baby joel

Hurricane Isaac // source: American Red Cross

some of my extended family members were hit by a major life-storm at the same time hurricane isaac tore through their home states. my uncles and aunts had to make tough decisions, figuratively evacuating and seeking refuge.   

thousands of miles away, i fold laundry and pray for them, my flesh and blood that i haven’t seen in 10 or more years. i'm just on the outskirts of their storm. and even though it doesn’t directly affect me, it definitely effects me. i want to protect them and comfort them, but i don't know how.

when my grandma calls, the alzheimer’s-riddled conversation breaks my heart. i am speaking a foreign language and there is no interpreter. she is only vaguely aware of what's going on, is mostly just confused. i hang up the phone, weary from their storm and in need of my own refuge.

i sit down and listen to my children play quietly, to the clock tick, to the fan whir. i still my mind, search my heart, and ask God to hold me. closer.

He did. and He reminds me of baby Joel.

Joel is our sponsored child. he lives in El Salvador, where the dusty ground is shaken by two earthquakes, a tsunami threatens the coastal shore, and violence threatens the country's stability. this little child, rescued by hope through Compassion International, lives in life-storms and needs refuge.

thousands of miles away, i fold laundry and pray for Joel, a chubby-cheek cutiepie with big brown eyes. i want to protect him and comfort him, but don't know how. and it hits me: there is a Refuge for us to seek in these life-storms. 

i find brightly colored construction paper, a handful of crayons, and glittery star stickers. i write in over-sized letters, Dear Joel, and fill the page with words in a foreign language that someone will translate and tell him about love and Jesus and hope and peace.

i drop the letter in the mailbox and a burden is lifted. the skies clear. the winds still. it rains peace. the storm has passed. i seek Him, and He rescues me. He rescues Joel. He rescues my family. the Lord is our Refuge. 

God holds us close and calms all storms. He is our Refuge.

But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord,
a tower of refuge to the needy in distress.
You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat.