By Marilyn Turk
As I write this, I’m glancing out my window to see what this year’s first tropical storm or maybe hurricane is bringing to my neighborhood. So far, we’ve gotten only rain, despite the Weather Channel’s dire warnings. Folks who live along the south and eastern coasts of the United States keep an eye on the weather this time of year because it is hurricane season. If you’ve lived here any number of years, you probably have at least one hurricane story to tell and usually, more than one.
Recently I read a list of “You might be a Floridian if…” which could also relate to other southern states. One of the things on the list was the way we tell time not by years but by hurricane names. In fact, I can tell you I moved to Florida the week before Ivan hit. Now if you’re from around here, you know that was 2004, when a hurricane that at one time was a category 5 storm and was still a “cat” 3 when it hit Pensacola, Florida and towns all nearby, doing billions of dollars’ worth of damage.
Other people have different storm names to identify with, but what they all have in common is that there was ample warning given to the public before these storms hit. Today’s meteorologists have a number of tools and equipment to discover storms at their original and track them to their destination, even to the point where they can approximate the place and time when the storm will make landfall.
As a result, people know how to prepare. We board up windows and doors. We remove things from outside our home that might become a flying object and cause damage or become damaged. We stock up on shelf-stable food, water, batteries and flashlights in case power goes out. And if evacuation is required, we choose a destination and a route of escape.
There are those who take heed and prepare, and there are those who don’t, who wait to see what will happen. But once you’ve experienced a dangerous storm, you’re more likely to prepare or evacuate when the next storm approaches.
It’s occurred to me how fortunate we are that, unlike people who lived in the past, we know of these storms before they hit so we are not caught off guard, thereby giving us a chance to get ready. I can’t imagine how people who lived a hundred years ago dealt with hurricanes. History tells us about some that wreaked tremendous damage and had great loss of life. If only they had known what was coming and how to prepare.
Sometimes, we joke about how the weather people missed the prediction or overstated a storm’s impact. But at least we were warned, giving us a chance to make decisions about our course of action.
Have you ever wished you could get a warning about life’s storms? Were you ever blindsided by something and wondered what happened? Did you say to yourself, “If I’d only known, I would have …?”
Chances are, you have been in at least one situation that was a storm in your life. Often, we don’t get warnings, so what do we do? How do we prepare?
I suggest that first of all we pray regularly before storms hit. We pray for our families, that we will be able to face whatever comes our way. We pray for safety and protection, for wisdom and guidance.
Along with prayer, we need to spend time in God’s Word. In it, we are given some great advice about what to do in times of trouble and how to cope with them.
God doesn’t mince words when it come to trouble. In fact, He guarantees it. In John 6:33, He says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
And how appropriate are these words. “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 6:24-27
The result? “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Have you faced any storms? How did you deal with them?
Praying for those who live on the East Coast at this time who have a major hurricane headed for them.