A Hiding Place From the Wind
HIGH in the alpine mountains of Europe, you can find growing a sturdy bush called the alpine rose. This dwarf rhododendron often grows in dense low thickets huddled against the ground for protection against the harsh upland winds. The unrelenting wind threatens the existence of the alpine plants by lowering their temperature, drying the air and the soil, and pulling at their roots.
The alpine rose often escapes the ravages of the wind by growing in crevices among the rocks. Although the soil at these sites may not be plentiful, the rocky fissures provide protection against the wind and enable the plant to conserve water. Practically hidden from view for much of the year, in the summer these rhododendrons decorate their mountain refuge with bright red flowers.
The prophet Isaiah explained that “princes” would be appointed by God, and each one would serve as “a hiding place from the wind.” (Isaiah 32:1, 2) Under the direction of the King, Christ Jesus, these spiritual princes, or overseers, would be like stable rocks, firm in times of stress or affliction. They would offer reliable shelter in the face of adversity and help needy ones to safeguard their reserves of spiritual water from God’s Word.
Winds of persecution, discouragement, or infirmity can buffet a Christian, causing his faith to wither if he is unprotected. Christian elders can provide protection by listening attentively to his problem, offering Bible-based counsel, and giving encouragement or practical help. Like their appointed King, Christ Jesus, they want to help those who have been “thrown about.” (Matthew 9:36) And they desire to assist others who have been damaged by the winds of false teaching. (Ephesians 4:14) Such assistance at the opportune time can prove vital.
“I went through a traumatic period in my life when some close friends left the congregation and, at the same time, my father suffered a brain hemorrhage,” explains Miriam. “In an attempt to overcome my depression, I began to go out with a worldly boyfriend. Soon thereafter, feeling unworthy, I informed the congregation elders that I had decided to leave the truth, since I was sure Jehovah could not love me.
“At this critical moment, a compassionate elder reminded me of the years that I had served as a regular pioneer minister. He told me that he had always admired my faithfulness, and he kindly requested that I allow the elders to help me, to reassure me of Jehovah’s love. Their loving interest at that crucial time was like ‘a hiding place’ for me during the spiritual storm that raged around me. Within a month, I terminated my relationship with my boyfriend, and I have kept on walking in the way of truth ever since.”
Elders feel rewarded when they see fellow Christians blooming spiritually, thanks to the protection afforded them at the proper time. And these ‘hiding places’ provide us with a foretaste of the bountiful spiritual help that we will enjoy during Christ’s Millennial Reign.