With Hurricane Irma headed towards our home in Orlando and several others in her wake, I’m thinking about the peace I have in Christ.
I’ve never been through a hurricane before, well, not really. The picture here is one I took August 30, 2006 when Ernesto came through Florida. We had only lived here a year and when we heard he was coming through we were a bit nervous. All in all, the impact to us was that I got a day off work. When the storm blew through early in the morning, there were winds and thunder and lightning, but nothing that seemed too much out of the ordinary. That Monday the office was closed, so I stayed home. I remember feeling slightly guilty that I wasn’t at work, because it was mostly just a drizzly day. I call this picture “Whispers of Ernesto”.
Last year, when Hurricane Matthew came through, and we were at a place that we were able to put up hurricane shutters. I honestly don’t remember anything really significant – we never even lost power, and that is unusual for our area. Very unusual – we lose power a lot!
Hurricane Irma is a completely different story. It feels like we’ve been hearing about her for a month now, and all the damage and the potential for the decimation of our entire state. 165 mile-per-hour winds, an eye the size of Florida. Yikes! And we don’t have hurricane shutters because they were burned in a fire here at our house a few months ago. While my husband and I did talk about whether we should evacuate or not, we came to the conclusion that staying here is the better of our options. But we’ve been making preparations around the house and staying tuned to various blogs and news reports.
Honestly, it’s hard not to worry. And I’m not a worrier by nature, by any stretch of the imagination.
It’s possible part of the worry is my need to be strategic. So in my thinking about worst-case scenarios so I can have contingency plans made, I’m focusing on all kinds of terrible things, like the roof of our house blowing off, or things crashing through our windows or. . . Yeah. Stuff like that.
In the midst of all this, I’m reminded that the Lord has been telling me for months that I need to not worry. Originally it was worry about food. I have recently become aware of a huge number of food allergies and sensitivities that, honestly, make eating complicated. About two weeks after teaching my Sunday School class Matthew 6, where Jesus talks about not worrying about what you are going to eat or wear, it dawned on me that I was worrying about what I was going to eat. I was a bit stunned. Since that time, He has had to remind me again and again when I start to get into that mode that He doesn’t want me to worry, and I can’t change a thing by doing it.
He also reminds me of my own words to my niece, Katie, when I was visiting in June. There was a thunderstorm and she was frightened. So I told her of the time that Jesus was in the boat with his disciples, sleeping, and a huge storm came up so that even the seasoned fishermen were terrified. But when they woke Jesus up, he just asked why they didn’t have faith and then rebuked the storm and all was calm immediately. I told her that we don’t need to be afraid in the storm, because Jesus is in complete control of everything.
If Jesus has power over the storm, then even Hurricane Irma isn’t so big he can’t stop her.
There are so many Scriptures I can quote here to remind myself that I have no reason for fear. And I am quoting them to myself and reminding myself of this fact. Does this mean that there won’t be any damage? No. Does it mean that I shouldn’t prepare? No. But it means that I can KNOW that all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 And that means me and my husband. So no matter the outcome, it is for our good, and if that is the case, then I can rejoice and wait expectantly for the good He has planned for me.
Even if you aren’t awaiting a Category 5 hurricane to sweep you away, there are probably storms in your life that have you frightened. I can assure you that Jesus is greater than all the storms in your life, and you don’t need to worry either.
Now, it is important to note that these promises apply to His children. If you aren’t sure if that means you, then it is simple to make sure it does. Here is all you need to do:
- Acknowledge that you are a sinner and have fallen short of God’s glory
- Recognize that Jesus is God, that He lived a sinless life, that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins (and mine!), and He rose again from the dead to prove that God accepted His sacrifice
- Ask Him to forgive you
It’s that simple. Done. Forgiven. Destined for heaven. Hallelujah!
On that note, I’m going to sign off and resume my preparations.
May God grant you peace in your storms and fill you with His joy. Focus on the promises He has made, and don’t let worry consume you.