Keep me as the apple of your eye; Hide me under the shadow of your wings, (Psalms 17:8 WEB)
Many times I found the best place to have fun was hard to reach. On Guam some of the best beaches were secluded away on military bases requiring special permission to visit. Guam did sport Fina Lake in the center of the island. A great place to fish I understand. Like many other nice spots Fina Lake was snuggled into the center of a military base, the Naval Magazine.
Fina Lake was unique. It was the only lake on the island. It was also a manmade lake to keep water supplies flowing between the rainy seasons. The lake was built by the military after WW II. With its central location and surrounding mountains it was secluded and quiet. The location was so secluded the US government felt it was a good place to hide weapons of all sorts. Well, maybe not hide but at least keep them away from the general populace.
So the Naval Magazine was constructed surrounding the lake in the central portion of the island. There was one road in, one road out. Since the facility was generally bereft of people the local Carabao population felt it was a great place to rebuild their numbers. After many years in what they must have considered their own resort their numbers increased and the largest herd was located within the guarded gates and double fences of the Magazine.
No ordinary soldier was commissioned to guard such military power. The Magazine was guarded by a group of Marines. With three boys at home this was a triple threat, a Lake, a herd of Carabao and Marines with cool looking weapons.
A friend of ours at church was the former commander for the Marines on the facility so he offered us a tour and a visit to the lake. After we passed through security and an inspection of our vehicles we entered the facility. Some of the soldiers provided an impressive demonstration of the Marines’ ability to lock and load on command.
The lake was beautiful and several local workers enjoyed fishing. We meandered through the small roads in search of the elusive Carabao. On the far side of the base we found them casually munching on some grass and ignoring our intrusion.
We saw all the attractions and began our journey back to the front gate. Our Marine friend was slightly confused by the unmarked roads. Eventually we drove beside an interior fence that surrounded a massive and secure looking building.
As we moved slowly along the outskirts of the enclosure we noticed soldiers on the roof with binoculars marking our progress carefully. Next there were more soldiers running across the roof manning several gun emplacements. We were suspicious this was not the right place to be enjoying a Sunday afternoon drive.
As we approached the end of the secured enclosed several vans drove around the corner and stopped in front of our two vans. Soldiers poured out of the vans, big guns in hand, fanned out across the road, took up prone positions, pointed their guns at us and we all heard the numerous clicks as safeties were turned OFF! We were definitely in the wrong place at wrong time.
Their commander walked toward our vehicles. Our Marine escort climbed out of his vehicle with his hands up to meet the commander and our children dove for the floor out of sight. While we listened to the children whimper from the floor and wondered what the inside of a military prison would look like the two Marines chatted for a while. Suddenly the commander started laughing. He shouted to the vigilant troops who clicked the safeties back ON much to our relief. We were released, passed out the front gates and never considered visiting the lake again.
I’m reminded of many saints who find themselves suddenly in the wrong place at the wrong time. Serving the Lord enjoying His grace and guidance and then glancing up to see the world around them is aiming their weapons toward them.
We were under the protection of our Marine friend and his connections. As saints we are under the caring wings of the almighty. If we stare too long at the opposition we’ll dive for the floor and whimper in fear. When we feel the comfort of our heavenly father we relax, wait, and watch as He handles the situation and makes the path clear.
If we’re going to hide, let’s hide under the shadow of God’s wings. There we’ll find comfort and strength no matter what lies ahead.