I recently went to Anchorage Alaska on a mission trip. I’ve never been surrounded by beauty like that before. Just looking out the window driving down the highway was enough to take your breath away.
I couldn’t understand how a place displaying such an abundance of God’s beautiful creation, could be so spiritually deficient. Alaska is the most unchurched state in the United States.
Our mission work was serving children in the parks throughout Anchorage. We played with them, fed them, loved on them, and listened to their stories. The gut wrenching stories these children shared devastated me, and the multitude of the painful stories overwhelmed me. Physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and incest were common.
On the last day of our mission trip serving the children, it rained. We worried that some of our beloved babies wouldn’t brave the rain to come to the park. They were already there. They hid under the park benches and playground equipment until we arrived. They knew the best places to hide from the rain. Rain couldn’t deter them from coming for the love that their little hearts ached for. We set up a tent and huddled together and sang worship songs. Then we piled in the van and turned the heater on. We played and laughed. Leaving the children that day was painful. The children cried out to us “I love you!” so many times as our van drove away. They tried to run next to the van as we drove down the street, until they couldn’t keep up anymore. The ride home was silent except for muffled sobs and the unyielding rain.
That night, the rain continued. My husband and I went to a beautiful scenic Lookout in Anchorage called the Bluff. We trudged through the woods and made our way out to the cliff. Without the protection of the trees surrounding us, the wind was fierce and the rain was painful. I looked around at what I knew was one of the most beautiful views on the continent, and I could hardly make out a thing. The wind was coming from the same direction where the mountains triumphed in the distance and it stung when I tried to look that way. The raindrops felt like BBs hitting my face.
“I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help.”
Psalms 121:1 TPT
I thought about the children at the park.
What if you can’t look up to the mountains because it hurts too bad? What if you’re trying to see the beauty around you and you’re bombarded by dark rain clouds, painful sideways rain, dense fog and wind that chills you to the core? Then what?
“But then I realize that our true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth.”
Psalms 121: 2 TPT
I’m praying that when it rains, these kids can remember where their true help and protection comes from.
I’m praying God will take the seeds we planted during this mission trip and use that dreadful rain to water them until they grow into something beautiful.
I’m praying that on a clear day, these kids can look at the mountains and know the One who made them.
God is our true Helper and our Protector. He’s our Shelter and our Perfect Hiding Place. His wrap-around presence is our rain coat. His faithfulness is our umbrella. His love is our firm foundation. He is our Guardian, our Defender; He’s our Dad. He never changes and He never lets us down. He loves us, holds us, and protects us during the storms.
“He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall. God is my keeper; he will never forget nor ignore me.”
Psalms 121:3 TPT