covered wagonDo you remember those old Western TV flicks where the bad guys are wildly closing in on the pioneers in their covered wagons? Billows of gritty dust. Horses galloping at full throttle. Bullets and arrows zipping all around. Maybe, if you’re like me, you feel like this is your life right now. “Circle the wagons! Circle the wagons!”

Back in the day when under attack, the pioneers would turn their prairie schooners into a tight circle, unhitch the horses, and draw every man, woman, child, cow, and horse into the middle of the ring. Then they had the advantage to fire back at their unprotected assailants. (Today we’d nab our cell phones and lattes and call OnStar®.)

I’ve had to circle my wagon a bunch lately. My computer hard drive screeched to its death. The electric hedge trimmer mauled my fingertip. Dear friends are terribly ill. I’m sure you can relate to times of drawing inward and stepping out of the fracas around you.

Even Ancient People Huddled Up

I can think of numerous times in the Bible where the people circled their wagons . . . er, chariots: Moses and the children of Israel just before the Red Sea parted (Exodus 14); David and his men retreating to a cave to escape their enemies (1 Samuel 22); the disciples after Jesus died (Luke 24).

Circling our wagons is not a sign of giving up but getting a better vantage point. We huddle up to regroup and recharge and rethink our next steps. We just have to be wise about what and who we allow into our wagon circle huddle.

Psalm 5:11 from The Message describes what happens when we include God at the center of our wagon circle: “. . . You’ll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to you.”

I like those odds. God with open arms and me with my cell phone in airplane mode.