We in Florida have just recently lived through another hurricane scare. Even as I write, the scare continues for those who live in the “northern” states of Georgia and the Carolinas.
Our weather coverage of this storm has been phenomenal – 24 hours a day for the past seven days. All our favorite programs were pre-empted in favor of giving us the up-to-date latest reports on the speed, intensity, and whereabouts of Hurricane Dorian.
Fortunately, for us here in central Florida, the threat of much damage in terms of rain, wind, and/or flooding seems to have passed us by — this time!
But with the emphasis on weather and storms comes the natural connection to the storms of life. There are some significant parallels in how we view the physical storms and how we should view the other storms that seem to threaten and plague our very existence.
For one thing, there is the sheer POWER of the storm. As Hurricane Dorian lingered over the Bahamas, the pictures coming back of the tremendous power demonstrated by the 185-mile-per-hour winds were devastating.
This phenomenon of nature was so intense that no one was exempt from the personal effects of such a display of the sheer power of nature.
When I think of the storms of life – whether they be physical, such as Dorian, or financial, or relational, or – well, you fill in the blank – no matter what the storm entails, it is a powerful demonstration which at its very core (or eye, as in Hurricane Dorian) has the purpose of discouragement, defeat, and destruction.
It is ever-so-tempting to allow those storms when we encounter them to send us into the depths of despair.
In light of the POWER then of the storms, it is essential that we make adequate PREPARATION for the onslaught prior to its occurring.
With respect to Dorian, that preparation was itself phenomenal. Windows have been boarded up, sandbags deployed, evacuation strategies have been put in place, ample food and water provisions have been set aside in a safe place in preparation for the worst.
Many people were so interested in protecting their homes that they placed full mattresses in front of their patio doors and the like – just in case.
It is amazing that people here often determine whether to stay and ride out a hurricane or to evacuate based upon the likelihood of their being able to return to their homes and businesses in a timely fashion. They have been more interested in the PROTECTION of their property than the PROVISION for their own safety.
After Hurricane Irma passed through two years ago, one man, whose home was a houseboat moored on the inter-coastal waterway, was rather matter-of-fact about the destruction of his home. He was grateful to be alive, and said he would just pick up the pieces – there were many of them – and start over again.
When I think of these situations, I cannot help but think of the spiritual applications.
In Mark 4, and other places in the Gospels, the disciples who followed Jesus found themselves facing tremendous storms. These storms were in an area where they were proficient and professional. Most of the disciples were professional fishermen and had fished these waters most of their lives. But the storms they faced here were uncannily large and overpowering even for the pros.
Yet, when they woke Jesus up and he calmed the storm with his simple, yawning, “Peace, be still!”, they were astounded by who he was and what he did. They were not PREPARED for his POWER, or his PROVISION. But they enjoyed the PROMISE of his PROTECTION.
And question at the end simply floored them: “Where is your faith?”
I have a simple question for you. It does not matter whether we are talking about hurricanes, landslides, tornadoes, or blizzards.
If we prepare for the storms of life the way people have prepared for hurricanes, why would we not even more be prepared for the coming of the Lord?
Are you ready?
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.