I have lived on the beautiful Gulf Coast of northwest Florida for 35 years. I love my adopted home…except when there is a tropical system in Gulf of Mexico and we are in the projected forecast cone.
As I write, there are TWO storms forecast to come in this direction.
For the past year, the Lord has been challenging me in my faith walk, specifically in walking my talk. I say I trust the Lord in all things, yet I struggle to trust Him when a new storm, figurative or literal, threatens.
As much as I hate to admit it, I am quick to focus on the storm.
Anxiousness sets in and I have do so something. So I begin to make a mental list of things that need to be done…just in case.
When do I put up my storm shutters? Do I put up my storm shutters? Will I be able to put up my shutters alone? Maybe I should just go ahead and get hurricane-rated windows…after this storm. Do I need to clear the furniture off both porches? Will everything fit in my garage along with my car? I guess if I need to, I can put some furniture in my bedroom, but I must remember to check them for spiders and geckos…
Anxious to be ahead of the crowds, I rush to the bank, grocery store, and gas station…and back to the grocery store for something I just added to my continuously growing list.
As I hurry about, I allow the memories of Hurricane Ivan to consume my thoughts. While I have been through several hurricanes, Ivan was the “big one.”
I relive the long, noisy night where the interior walls of the darkened hallway seemed to breathe with the changes in the barometric pressure. I recall the screaming winds and the loud crashing sounds. I visualize the the wide-spread destruction revealed at daybreak. I remember how I was overwhelmed with the damage to my house and the yard clean up.
My dread grows. I don’t want to go through all of that again.
I obsessively read the social media posts by professional meteorologists who tell the facts, and by weather enthusiasts who make their own predictions. I watch the clock, waiting for the next track advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Then I hold my breath as I check the advisory; my heart pounds in fear at what it may reveal. I repeat this cycle every four hours until I exhaust myself.
And then I realize that, once again, I allowed my focus to be on my circumstance. My eyes had wandered, which caused my faith to waver and my fear to consume me.
In my weariness, I surrender what control I thought I had of the situation. And in my surrender, I remember…
The Lord has been faithful to me in every single storm.
In the physical storms, while I wasn’t exempt from going through the storm, the Lord protected me. I wasn’t spared from the mess the storm left behind, but He gave me strength for the physical clean-up, and He sent unexpected help to my doorstep! The days were hot, long and hard. As nighttime fell, the world outside my windows was eerily dark. Yet inside, as I watched the candlelight flicker, I sensed God’s presence. I was not alone.
I am never alone.
My anxiousness calms.
While the radar may indicate approaching chaos, the truth is that God is still in control. I may not understand His ways, but I am not God. He will never give me more than He can handle. He is all-powerful, all-knowing and ever-present.
The projected path and intensity of both of storms may be uncertain, but I can rest in the certainty that He is with me and He will see me through every storm He allows to come my way.
I just need to keep my eyes on Him and trust Him in all things, and with all things.
Even when there are two history-making storms projected to head in this direction.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
He is my God, and I trust him.
For He will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
For He will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
~ Psalm 91