We’ve experienced some pretty epic thunderstorms in the U.K. this summer, haven’t we? Some people find a storm exhilarating; others find them terrifying, but no matter what your personal experience of storms has been, I think we can all agree that they are almost always disruptive. If you’ve ever found yourself on the sea during a storm, I’m sure you appreciate what a vital provision there is in the service of the volunteer men and women of the RNLI. Over 400 lifeboats are situated around the coast of the U.K. providing 24-hour search and rescue capability.
Of course, we experience storms of life, too; a fact of which our residents are all too aware. Finding oneself homeless is undoubtedly one such storm, and one which can cause long-term disruption and devastation. Other storms may include issues such as mental and/or physical health concerns; unemployment; debt; addiction, and broken relationships, to name but a few. I suppose (to continue stretching the metaphor) Restore’s role is much like that of the lifeboat crew: when someone finds themselves in a storm of life that leads to that individual becoming homeless, it is overwhelming. The intervention offered by Restore – a room in a shared house with a bespoke support plan for each individual resident, and a designated support worker to help them maintain progress and meet their personal goals – is the shelter, sanctuary and care that individual needs to help them ‘weather’ the storm they are experiencing. Residents have often commented on how much they needed the support Restore provided during that turbulent situation in their life:
Coming from having nothing as well, from feeling like I was sort of cast out … [Restore] has been fantastic for that…you’ve given me this drive in my life again now…it’s made me want to go back out into the world. [‘G,’ a former Restore resident]
It’s precisely that ‘drive’ that we long to instil in our residents once the storm of life has subsided. Just as a lifeboat crew don’t invite you to live onboard ship, but rather take you to a place of safety and allow you to move on, so the team at Restore help residents to find their feet again and return to independent lives.
We also see this storm metaphor used frequently in the Bible. God is often described as a shelter or refuge (see for example, Psalm 55:8) and Jesus exhibited His authority over nature when He calmed the storm in Mark chapter 4. That God has the power to shelter us from storms is not simply a demonstration of his command over creation, but of His ability to guide us through the storms of life, too.
I remember as a young child being taken to a concert by the Filey fishermen’s choir, a group of singers from the Yorkshire seaside community, who travel around the region performing Christian songs and telling the story of how the choir was formed in the 1820s. One song from their repertoire has stayed with me throughout my life and has brought moments of great comfort during my own personal storms: it is based upon words found in Hebrews 6:19 and is called ‘Will your anchor hold?’
We have an anchor that keeps the soul,
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.
If I hope for anything for our residents (or anyone, in fact!), it is that they know, accept and experience God’s ability to hold them fast, no matter what life throws at them. When you are anchored in Jesus and His love for you, it doesn’t mean the storms don’t come. But it does mean that you can rest safe in the knowledge that Almighty God is faithful, compassionate, and gracious. He is trustworthy, and when you are grounded in Him, He will not let go.
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 Information from Royal National Lifeboat Service, https://rnli.org/what-we-do/lifeboats-and-stations, accessed July 2023
 Bible references from Bible Gateway.com, New International Version.