This week we, along with other Floridians, are staring down a major hurricane. Riding on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, emotions are higher. Fear is strong. Already by Tuesday, supplies were out, though the storm shouldn’t hit till Sunday. As we prepare for this storm, I reflect on how our actions translate to principles for the spiritual life as well.
When we see a storm coming, our first response is to gather supplies. I’m thankful I had the foresight to ask our son to pick up water on his way home Sunday, because yesterday there was none to be found. People get salty when supplies are scarce. And often, in our spiritual lives, we act out of a scarcity mentality. The truth we need to ride out storms we gather in short supply. We reach for it in moments of desperation, instead of storing up for a rainy day.
But friends, the truth that sustains is there for the taking. It never runs out. We must constantly feed ourselves a supply of truth, so that when the storms of life hit, we have a storehouse. And we can be the ones generously sharing that truth with others.
While my husband is traveling until Friday, I’m thankful for my team from work. All day Wednesday we continued an email thread checking with each other. Who’s staying? How do we prepare? I confess, I was reluctant at first to admit my ignorance. I’m a Minnesota girl. All our storm preparedness is, “When the sirens start, grab some snacks and head for the basement. Turn on the TV.”
But in admitting my need, I receive help. There is comfort in connecting with them. We know we are not alone. Others will walk with us. When we weather the storms in life, we desperately need others. That requires owning our needs, ignorance, and poverty, so that others can help us. We were made to weather storms together.
Part of our preparation is checking for the safe places. Our house has few interior rooms-just a small room under the stairs and decent sized closets in the kids’ rooms. (Looks like we will hunker down Harry Potter style).We need safe places. In God, we have the greatest one. He is our solid place, rock, refuge, our anchor in the storm. Too easily I wander from that home and look for solid places elsewhere; it is a pointless search. He is the best hiding place.
Despite our best preparations, we know this storm might cause damage. Our backyard is wooded. Surely branches will fall and trees may be uprooted. While our house was built to withstand strong winds, it can’t bear everything. How will it all hold up against the storm?
In our spiritual lives, there is where I see God work so much good. Storms are when we see what we’re made of. We see if we have built our lives on solid ground. There’s uprooting that needs to happen so God can plant something better. We come through a little battered and worse for wear, but humbled as well. They bring us back into dependence.
I confess, through all this preparation, I am fearful. There are so many “what if?” scenarios. There is too much out of my control. In the face of a storm, God calls me back to rest in His goodness. He reminds me that He is greater than any storm, even the biggest one I’ve ever seen. His perfect love for us drives out fear. While we remain vigilant and alert to the destructive forces around us, we are trusting, hopeful, and deeply loved.
So we store up truth along the way, guarding our hearts for whatever might come. We keep building our lives and identities on the solid ground of who God is. That way, when the rain comes and the wind blows, we rest secure. We do it together. We do it knowing that however great the storm, He is greater.