Shelter In The Time Of Storm


‘Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger. My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.’ Psalm 55:1-8

The current global pandemic described by the World Health Organisation as Covid-19 can be perceived as a terrible storm in the life of everyone across the globe.

With lock-down measures aimed at controlling the spread of the virus, it may be useful at these unprecedented times to consider the hymn ‘A shelter in the time of storm’, written by Vernon Charlesworth around 1880 based on Psalms.55:8. Its popular tune and refrain were provided by Ira David Sankey about 5 years afterwards.

The original hymn was said to be one of the favourite songs of fishermen on the north coast of England as they were often heard singing it once they approached their harbours in the time of storm.

The fifty-fifth Psalm which is our text for today is one of the maskils of David. In this Psalm, he requested God to answer his prayer as he was experiencing terrible storms of life brought about by his adversaries. The Psalmist wished he had the wings of a dove to enable him fly to be at rest, hurrying to the place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.

Part of the lyrics of Charlesworth’s hymn goes thus: ‘The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide, our shelter in the time of storm; Secure whatever ill betide, our shelter in the time of storm.’ Charlesworth’s message in this song is assertive of the truth that Jesus, our Rock provides unshakeable refuge as He is our true source of protection.

The hymn pictures Jesus as our shade and defence all the time. We are encouraged not to be afraid because the Lord has promised never to leave nor forsake us. Whilst in the shelter provided by the Lord, let us endeavour to remain in Him, trusting always that He knows and truly cares.

‘LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. You have made the city a heap of rubble, the fortified town a ruin, the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will honour you; cities of ruthless nations will revere you. You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall and like the heat of the desert. You silence the uproar of foreigners; as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled. On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.’ Isaiah.25:1-9


Oh Lord, our Rock of eternal salvation, thank You for your unfailing protection. May we ever hide ourselves in the shelter You graciously provide in Christ’s name. Amen.


"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Romans 12:2