Larry and me, on the day Icemaggedon moved in
For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
like heat in a dry place.
You subdue the noise of foreigners;
as heat by the shade of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is put down.
On the day Icemageddon moved in, a homeless man came back to the Corner from the line at the shelter to get some relief from the wind. He told us this story...
The homeless men were in line at the shelter, as they usually are in the afternoon, waiting to be let in at 4 p.m. Because of the intense cold, they shielded themselves as much as they could by the wall of the shelter, all huddled up, so as to be blocked from the mighty wind. If you'll remember, the wind that day was ruthless; you could hardly stand outside without something to block the terrible ice storm as it paraded in.
This homeless man proceeded to tell us that, as they were huddled there, someone from the shelter came out and made all of the homeless men move away from the wall into the driving wind. The temperature was already well BELOW FREEZING, and someone came to move them away from the only relief they had, the outer wall of the shelter, so that they had to stand in the beating wind. It was not this person's fault, for he was just the bearer of bad news that came from inside the shelter . . . and the homeless man who relayed this story to us was smart enough to know it came from the "inside," from those in charge, all warm and cozy.
And then he said this, "And they call themselves Christians!"
Truer words are rarely spoken.
We are judged, not by what we say we believe but what we do in action in real life.1
The verses above tell of the poor, who live out in the elements, unshielded from the storm or heat, but whom God himself protects.
The ruthless, on the other hand, are like heat in a dry place…heat + dry place = nearly unbearable
(Just try being homeless in a Texas summer sometime.)
These verses remind me of that day, when the warm people inside the shelter drove the homeless men away from the only thing blocking the storm—the wall of the shelter. The homeless men were forced into the driving wind on that bitterly cold day that was bringing in that terrible ice storm. It was so cold standing outside that day (see above picture) that I had to go sit in my car for 10 minutes in the middle of our time on the Corner to warm up.
Who helps the poor and needy? God. God subdues the noise of the foreigners, or ruthless. And how does he do it? He gives a cloud in the heat, so that the song of the ruthless is put down. And what are we to do? We are to open our mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. We are to open our mouth and defend the rights of the poor and needy.2
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God is this:
to visit orphans and widows in their affliction...
 "But be doers of the word, and not heaers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22
 Proverbs 31:8-9