This week, like I often do, I was asking God to speak to me. He does that once in a while, and it thrills me every time. Sometimes I will get a word or phrase that will turn out to be what the pastor is preaching that Sunday morning. Sometimes, it’s a message that will show up in my Bible passage later that day. And sometimes it’s a dream that brings encouragement or correction. This time was different, though. I woke up Wednesday morning in the middle of night to use the bathroom, and I again asked God to speak to me. When I got back into bed, four words popped into my head. I immediately recognized them as the title and chorus to a rock song from the 1970’s. After looking at the lyrics, I believe that God was giving me a message of hope for His children during a time of great judgement and trial.
The words were “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” and the song was published by REO Speedwagon in 1973. Before I looked up the song, those were the only four words I actually knew. I hadn’t heard the song itself for probably well over twenty years. The story behind the song was that the band was touring in Colorado when they decided to play a trick on their manager by pretending to get lost. It started snowing really hard, and they ended up getting lost for real in the Rocky Mountains. It turned into a dangerous situation in which they had to ride out the storm.
When I looked at the lyrics, a few things jumped out at me right away as symbols. The rest came little by little and piece by piece as I prayed about it this week.
“Ridin’ the storm out, waitin’ for the thaw out On a full moon night in the Rocky Mountain winter”
The Rocky Mountains are at a higher altitude than the cities nearby. With deep snow and high winds, the weather can get dangerous very quickly. I thought of this as the Christian life. We are closer to God, but as such we not only fight the regular storms and trials of life in a fallen world, but we are battle our flesh and specific attacks of the enemy. We are all waiting for the day when Jesus will come back to fully vanquish the devil and all his storms. A full moon is just a reflection of the sun. As Christians, we reflect the Son of God. We are lights in a dark world.
“My wine bottle’s low, watching for the snow”
Wine symbolizes a few things in the Bible. The first thing that comes to mind is the “new wine” that is the symbol of the New Covenant with Jesus. But wine has another meaning as well. It is paired with judgement and God’s wrath in Jeremiah 25:15 where it says, “For thus says the Lord God of Israel to me: ‘Take this wine cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it.'” I believe this is speaking of a time in which will God pour out His judgement on nations. As Christians, we are already looking for it because the watchmen have been warning us for a long time that it is coming. Many countries, especially America, will be judged for turning their backs on God.
“Thinkin’ about what I’ve been missin’ in the city And I’m not missin’ a thing”
The city represents the world. The storms don’t hit the city as hard as in the mountains. For some people without Christ, they have easy lives and only have to think of themselves and their own needs. But as Christians, we constantly fight the flesh, bringing every thought into subjection. We are striving to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. We also fight the enemy who wants to wear us out and cause us to stumble.
Once we are saved out of the world, we are not to turn back. We are not to be envious of those who seem to “get away with” doing things the easy way. Also, during a time of judgement, some of the old comforts of life will be taken from us to achieve God’s purposes. We are not to spend our time wishing for those days to return but we are to be about our Father’s business.
“Watchin’ the full moon crossing the range Ridin’ the storm out Ridin’ the storm out”
God is our refuge and our fortress. When storms blow in, He is our shelter. He will be with us in times of trouble no matter where we go. But there will be an end to the storms, and those who endure to the end shall be saved. It’s just a matter of riding out the tough times until the end.
“My lady’s beside me, she’s there to guide me She says that alone we’ve finally found home”
These were the first lines to jump out at me as symbols. I immediately thought of the Holy Spirit who guides the children of God. This thought brings great comfort to me as I reflect on the idea that He is always with me, guiding me, even when I don’t realize it. While we are here on earth, we have a constant companion and Comforter, a little taste of what forever will be like when we get to our true home with Jesus.
“The wind outside is frightening”
Life can get tough, and when judgement does hit in is fullness, we could see some very frightening things. Wind can be noisy. It can knock things over and make the doors and windows rattle. But inside the comfort of a mountain cabin, the wind can do little more than make you shiver with gratitude that you are inside and warm. When we are under God’s feathers, we have the ultimate comfort in knowing that He is in control, and nothing happens without His permission. All things work toward the good of those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose. We might go through some terrible things, but God has a plan, and we will never be alone.
“But it’s kinder than the lightning life in the city”
Whatever we see and experience as children of God, it will always be better than living a life without Him. Here, that life is empty and characterized by vanity. In eternity, for the soul without Jesus, there is only eternal pain.
“It’s a hard life to live but it gives back what you give.”
This last line really stuck with me. The gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life. During a time of judgement and maybe even persecution, we aren’t only going to be able to think of ourselves and our own needs – or even those of just our immediate family. We will need to be listening for God’s voice and doing His will during a time when people will be scared and looking for answers. We will all be held responsible for what we do with our time here on earth and rewarded for all the works that stand in eternity.
Putting It All Together
If you follow biblical precedent at all, you know that many countries, including America, are due for some very hard times as God pours out judgement on nations that have forgotten Him and His ways. But there is, here, a message of hope in that judgement. God will always be with His children, and He will guide us when we keep our eyes focused on Him. We must obey His voice even when things get tough, but with His help, we will all be able to ride out the storms until Jesus calls us home.
If you are in a storm right now, here is a gospel song that might help. It’s called “Ride Out Your Storm, Turn to Jesus.” It has a similar message of hope for better days with an assurance that Jesus is with you in hard times.
If you like analogies, try It’s Not the Machine That Makes Us Clean. It compares aspects of the Christian life to a dishwasher. Or, try Three Reasons We Can’t Stop Trying to Save the Lost. It’s an analogy of the Parable of the Starfish.
Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.