Pastor's wife: Jesus is our shelter in the storm


Last week, we were visiting my sister and her family in Bowling Green. On Sunday morning, we joined them at Hillvue Church. The pre-service music was playing. People greeted and mingled. The five-minute timer was ticking down. My heart began to stir in anticipation.

Four minutes before start time, every phone began to alarm. It was an Emergency Alert from the National Weather Service. A tornado warning had been issued. Pastor Steve Ayers calmly stepped to the stage. (This was not his first rodeo.) He instructed us that the service would be moving to the church basement. When built, they made sure it would be a safe place able to withstand 300 mph winds.

My sister and her husband are on the greeting team. They assisted young and old as they took shelter. No one seemed to be alarmed. This was the land where tornadoes are a part of life. Taking shelter was not foreign to them. We are from the land where flooding is a part of life. It is not uncommon for services to be moved or changed due to rising water.

When they heard the tornado warning, some of my sister’s family had detoured on their way to church, stopping at her house to hunker down. My beloved and I dashed over the 3-mile span from the church to meet them there to ride out the storm.

At my sister’s house, I made a pot of coffee. Because that’s important. As it brewed, I grabbed some things just in case. What would you take if you thought a tornado was coming?

I stuffed my phone charger, contact case, glasses, shoes that I could walk over…well, whatever I needed to walk over, and my Bible in a bag.

The storm came. The power went off. (Right after the coffee had brewed.) A fierce thunder and lightning show began. Trees around us split in two.

The words of an old song went through my mind: “I’ve seen it in the lightning, heard it in the thunder, and felt it in the rain; My Lord is near me all the time, My Lord is near me all the time.” I’ve sung those words through many a storm.

In my sister’s basement, with coffee and people we loved, we waited in anticipation.

Sitting in the dark, I remembered the disciples in Mark 4. A storm came out of nowhere and had them in a panic. Several of those men were expert fishermen. They had lived on the water, made their living on the water. If it scared them, you know it was bad.

They cried out to Jesus. Genius move. (We never get too grown or too smart not to.) It wasn’t the storm that woke Him from His sleep in the stern; it was the cry of His friends.

Whether you are from the mountains or the flatlands, you will experience storms in life. Many times they will not involve rain or high winds. When they come, cry out to Jesus. Cling to Him. The Lord can be your shelter. “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust,’” Psalm 91:1-2.


Dawn Reed is a pastor's wife and newspaper columnist. Reach her at