“Be on the back of the bike by 5:15 or you’re going to be left.”
Those words played over and over in my mind all day. I was actually looking forward to riding with my husband to his monthly chapter meeting of the Christian Motorcyclist Association. I even worked through lunch so I could leave the office early enough to make it home before 5pm. The sun was shining brightly. It looked like it would be a nice evening. The hot afternoon heat was finally cooling down a bit.
True to his word, we pulled out of the drive at 5:15. We were to meet up with some of the other chapter members at a local Sheetz station and then make the 30 mile trip through the rural country side together. As we waited for the last rider to arrive, we noticed the clouds began to gather and darken. Kickstands up at 5:45 we hoped we would make our destination before any rain set in.
Five miles down the road, the clouds darkened ominously.
Pink streaks of lightening lit up the horizon. (I began praying, “Lord, please keep the rain away.” Riding in the rain would be a new experience for me. One that I wasn’t looking forward to.)
We pulled over another ten miles down the road for some of the group to don rain suits. It looked like we might be in for a bit of wet riding.
Sure enough, we were.
Another five miles down the road and a drizzle began. Another five miles and we were being pelted with huge drops of rain when we finally reached the small community just outside the outskirts of our destination. (By this time, my prayers were, “Lord, keep us safe!”) As we approached the crossroads, there stood to the left, an old abandoned service station. To the right was a convenience store with an awning over its gas pumps. You know, the kind that leaves you exposed to the elements, only giving shade from the sun if you happen to be at just the correct angle.
Thankfully, my husband chose to pull over at the abandoned gas station.
It’s old brick building, with its roof stretching over to connect to two brick columns that used to stand guard by the long gone gas pumps, looked like promising protection in the storm.
Unfortunately, the others in our group chose to stop at the convenience store, only to pull back onto the road after a few minutes.
We chose to stay put until the storm passed over. We were only a few minutes late arriving at our destination. When we walked in, I was greeted with warm welcomes and hugs, and “I can’t believe you did it!” from several of the chapter members. Many knew how nervous I would be riding in the storm, and that generally, I won’t even get on the back of a bike if there is even any hint of rain. (I guess I’m what many may call a “fair weather rider.”)
After a quick bite to eat, a short devotional and the chapter business meeting concluded for the evening, it seemed as if only minutes had passed before we were gearing up to get on the road to head back home. Wouldn’t you know it? Another storm came up.
When we were fifteen miles down the road, the air filled with the smell of electricity as cloud to ground lightening lit up the night skies. Then a deluge of rain hit as we passed over the Tar River. I was already tense from the storm, when a transfer truck whizzed by, the spray from its wheels adding to my stress. I can tell you my prayers really kicked into overdrive at that point! I was wet, cold and so tense that my body couldn’t even shiver. I just clung onto unto my husband and prayed the bike stayed upright and that no nocturnal animals decided to cross the country roads in our path of travel.
What normally is a thirty minute drive, took almost an hour. Finally, we were home! As I began peeling off layers of wet clothing and pouring water out of my boots, I began to complain about being wet. Then Grace whispered, “Had you rather be dry or safe? I chose safety for you.” I then had to bow my head and give thanks for the safety.
As I think about that stormy ride down the highway and the refuge we found at that abandoned service station, I am reminded that God is my refuge in the storms that life throws at me.
“For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall.” Isaiah 25:4 (NASB)
When I try to “ride them out in my own strength” and I am overcome by the stresses of life decisions, I go to His word and find comfort and strength and answers. Sometimes I may need to implore the prayers of others, sometimes I may need to seek counsel from someone who has struggled with the same things, and that’s okay.
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” (Proverbs 1:5) NKJV
I may not always receive what I ask for, for sometimes I don’t pray for what is the best choice for me (like being dry in the rain storm when what I needed more was safety.) But always, I find God’s promises to be true. I may think God has abandoned me as crises strike around me. But then, I as I reflect back at the big picture after the crises has passed, I see that He did not. He provided strength when I didn’t think I could go on. He provided a place of refuge for my soul when I felt no one else cared. He continues to do so.
When storms come your way, I pray that you will find God to be a refuge for you too.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are an awesome God. There is none like you. You love us and want only the best for us. Enough so, that you provided Christ as a refuge for our souls. Thank you for continuing to speak to us through scripture and whisperings in our heart. In Christ’s name. Amen.