Skip to main content

The Last Telling of the Christmas Story, Part 6

We read in Revelation 12 that, “The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.”

I believe the secret message for us in this is that in the desert of persecution God prepares for us a place of protection. The 1,260 days represent a period of time during which Satan is persecuting the Church. 1,260 days is three and a half years. Seven years would be a complete period of suffering. Thus, 1,260 days represents a complete period of suffering cut short by half. This shows us that even in suffering God is merciful to us. God will not let us endure suffering longer than we can bear. (See 1 Corinthians 10:13.) God’s protection will last as long as Satan’s persecution lasts.

Notice that God prepares a place for the woman to be taken care of. The desert represents a place of spiritual refuge and protection from Satan. Because the Lord aided the woman’s escape into the desert, we can be sure that God will provide security for us. Satan always attacks Christians, but the Lord keeps us spiritually secure. Some of us may experience physical harm, but the Lord will protect us from spiritual harm. The Lord will not allow Satan to take the souls of those who belong to him. Satan can only do to us what the Lord allows, and the Lord has our best interests in mind, even while he allows Satan to bring suffering. However strong Satan’s opposition against us may become, and however fierce our sufferings may be, we are always under the Lord’s protection and therefore we cannot ultimately be destroyed or overcome by Satan.

Jill Briscoe tells the following story….

Though I was barely 6 years of age, I well remember sitting by a roaring fire on a Sunday during World War II. Our family had fled the bombs that rained down on us one night, chasing us hundreds of miles away to the beautiful English lake district—William Wordsworth country.

The mists were gone, and a storm had broken over our heads. The rain, like giant tears, slashed against the window pane, and the thunder grumbled away as if it were angry it had to hang around all day. I didn’t like storms, and I was old enough to understand that a bigger storm was raging, a war involving the entire world. But at the moment, it seemed far away. The fire was warm, and my father was relaxed, reading the paper, sitting in his big chair.

Suddenly, as if he were aware I needed a bit of reassurance, he put down his paper and smiled at me. “Come here, little girl,” he said in his quiet but commanding voice. And then I was safe in his arms, lying against his shoulder and feeling the beat of his heart. What a grand place to be. Here I could watch the rain and listen to the thunder all day.

I’ve realized how my heavenly Father shelters me from the storms of life. When times of sorrow swamped me at my mother’s funeral, I sought the reassurance of my Father’s presence. When winds of worry whipped away my confidence as I faced gangs of young people in street evangelism, I glanced up to see my Father’s face. When floods of fear rose in my spirit as I waited in a hospital room for the results of frightening tests, I sensed my heavenly Father saying, “Come here, little girl.”

I climbed into his arms, leaned against his shoulder, and murmured, “Ah, this is a grand place to be.”

And as I rest in that safe place knowing that my Father is bigger than any storm that beats against the window pane of my life, I can watch the rains and listen to the thunder, knowing that everything is all right. Here I can feel the beat of my Father’s heart.

Is Satan buffeting our lives with many storms just now? Is fear rising in our hearts as we experience the thunder of painful circumstances? If so, then perhaps what we need to do is to crawl into our heavenly Father’s lap and call out to him in prayer. Perhaps we need to let God comfort us through his words in the Bible. Perhaps we need to take up that book and read it as his love message to us, his fearful children. God may not take away the storms in our lives. In fact, God may have allowed these very storms to come so that we would rush into his loving arms once more. We need to let the Lord be our place of protection. We need to let him teach us through all the trials of life that He is greater than the one who is in the world.


Popular posts from this blog

C. S. Lewis on Homosexuality

Arthur Greeves
In light of recent developments in the United States on the issue of gay marriage, I thought it would be interesting to revisit what C. S. Lewis thought about homosexuality. Lewis, who died in 1963, never wrote about same-sex marriage, but he did write, occasionally, about the topic of homosexuality in general. In the following I am quoting from my book, Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C. S. Lewis. For detailed references and footnotes, you may obtain a copy from Amazon, your local library, or by clicking on the book cover at the right....
In Surprised by Joy, Lewis claimed that homosexuality was a vice to which he was never tempted and that he found opaque to the imagination. For this reason he refused to say anything too strongly against the pederasty that he encountered at Malvern College, where he attended school from the age of fifteen to sixteen. Lewis did not rate pederasty as the greatest evil of the school because he felt the cruelty displayed at Malver…

A Prayer at Ground Zero

Christmas Day Thought from Henri Nouwen

"I keep thinking about the Christmas scene that Anthony arranged under the altar. This probably is the most meaningful "crib" I have ever seen. Three small woodcarved figures made in India: a poor woman, a poor man, and a small child between them. The carving is simple, nearly primitive. No eyes, no ears, no mouths, just the contours of the faces. The figures are smaller than a human hand - nearly too small to attract attention at all.
"But then - a beam of light shines on the three figures and projects large shadows on the wall of the sanctuary. That says it all. The light thrown on the smallness of Mary, Joseph, and the Child projects them as large, hopeful shadows against the walls of our life and our world.
"While looking at the intimate scene we already see the first outlines of the majesty and glory they represent. While witnessing the most human of human events, I see the majesty of God appearing on the horizon of my existence. While being moved by the ge…

Sheldon Vanauken Remembered

A good crowd gathered at the White Hart Cafe in Lynchburg, Virginia on Saturday, February 7 for a powerpoint presentation I gave on the life and work of Sheldon Vanauken. Van, as he was known to family and friends, was best known as the author of A Severe Mercy, the autobiography of his love relationship with his wife Jean "Davy" Palmer Davis.

While living in Oxford, England in the early 1950's, Van and Davy came to faith in Christ through the influence of C. S. Lewis. Van was a professor of history and English literature at Lynchburg College from 1948 until his retirement around 1980. A Severe Mercy tells the story of Davy's death from a mysterious liver ailment in 1955 and Van's subsequent dealing with grief. Van himself died from cancer in 1996.

It was my privilege to know Van for a brief period of time during the last year of his life. However, present at the White Hart on February 7 were some who knew Van far better than I did--Floyd Newman, one of Van's…

Fact, Faith, Feeling

"Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods 'where to get off', you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith." Mere Christianity

Many years ago, when I was a young Christian, I remember seeing the graphic illustration above of what C. S. Lewis has, here, so eloquen…

C. S. Lewis Tour--London

The final two days of our C. S. Lewis Tour of Ireland & England were spent in London. Upon our arrival we enjoyed a panoramic tour of the city that included Westminster Abbey. A number of our tour participants chose to tour the inside of the Abbey where they were able to view the new C. S. Lewis plaque in Poets' Corner.

Though London was not one of Lewis' favorite places to visit, there are a number of locations associated with him. One which I have noted in my new book, In the Footsteps of C. S. Lewis, is Endsleigh Palace Hospital (25 Gordon Street, London) where Lewis recovered from his wounds received during the First World War....

Not too far away from this location is King's College, part of the University of London, located on the Strand, just off the River Thames. This is the location where Lewis gave the annual commemoration oration entitled The Inner Ring on 14 December 1944....

C. S. Lewis occasionally attended theatrical events in London. One of his favorites w…

C. S. Lewis on Church Attendance

A friend's blog written yesterday ( got me thinking about C. S. Lewis's experience of the church. I wrote this in a comment on Wes Robert's blog:
It is interesting to note that C. S. Lewis attended the same small church for over thirty years. The experience was nothing spectacular on a weekly basis. For most of those years Lewis didn't care much for the sermons; he even sat behind a pillar so that the priest would not see the expression on his face. He attended the service without music because he so disliked hymns. And he left right after holy communion was served probably because he didn't like to engage in small talk with other parishioners after the service. But that life-long obedience in the same direction shaped Lewis in a way that nothing else could.
Lewis was once asked, "Is attendance at a place of worship or membership with a Christian community necessary to a Christian way of life?"
His answer was as follows: &q…

C. S. Lewis's Parish Church

The first time I visited Oxford, in 1982, the porter at Magdalen College didn't even recognize the name--C. S. Lewis. I had asked him if he could give me directions to Lewis's former home in Headington Quarry. Obviously, he could not and did not. (Directions to Lewis's former home are now much easier to obtain. Just click here for directions and to arrange a tour: The Kilns.)
Things have changed a lot since 1982. Now Lewis is remembered all around Oxford. At the pub where the Inklings met, at Magdalen College, and not least--at his parish church--Holy Trinity Headington Quarry. The first time I visited the church I only saw the outside and Lewis's grave, shared with his brother Warnie.
Since that first visit I have returned to Holy Trinity a number of times and worshiped there. Father Tom Honey is a real gem. Under his leadership the congregation has grown and now includes a number of young families. I was overwhelmed by the number of children who came into the sanctuary…

A Christmas Psalm

Psalm 110
The Lord says to my Lord:
"Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet."

The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion;
you will rule in the midst of your enemies.
Your troops will be willing on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy majesty,
from the womb of the dawn
you will receive the dew of your youth.

The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
"You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek."

The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
He will drink from a brook beside the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms,
Chapter XII, paragraphs 4 & 5:

"We find in our Prayer Books that Psalm 110 is one of those appointed for Christmas Day. We may at first be surprised by this. There is nothing in it about peace and good-will, nothing remotely sugg…