Tag Archive | storms

Hurricane Irma and the Storms of Life

IrmaIt’s Atlantic hurricane season, in case you didn’t know. We all watched the devastation in Houston. We read the reports, we saw the pictures. What a tragedy!

What I didn’t know until the other day was that this disastrous flooding had been predicted in the Houston area for a very long time. (See this article in the Dallas News about a report that was basically filed away and forgotten about this issue.) But because of politics or ecological concerns or the astronomical cost of fixing things, the harbingers of danger were ignored by the local government.

And now the cost of clean up and rebuilding is likely to exceed that cost by billions of dollars.

Today, we wait for Hurricane Irma to come across our area of Florida. Irma has us in her sights and we are being warned to not ignore the advice of our county and state officials. We’ve known this massive storm has been coming for days. We’ve known we are in the “cone of uncertainty.” We watch, we prepare, we wait. When the storm hits, hopefully we’ll be ready.

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Watching Hurricane Charley in 2004

2017 has been a very stormy year for our family, and they have been storms that we had no idea were coming. We didn’t have emotional doppler radar scanning out weeks and months in advance, warning us that we’re going to be hit. Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe then we could be ready.

But the fact is, life doesn’t work that way, so we need to be prepared for life’s storms even when things are going well.

Am I anchored on the Word of God? Do I know who God is? Do I trust Him to be good and loving and merciful?

“Through every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.” These words were penned by Edward Mote back in the early 1800s. That means we have to have an anchor, number 1, and we have to keep it deployed, number 2. Sometimes I see kids riding bicycles with their helmets hanging from the handlebars. Dude, that helmet won’t do you any good there. An anchor held by a person or a job or money will not save us in a storm.

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Bent but not broken. A pine tree in a nearby neighborhood after Hurricane Charley came through in 2004

If our anchor is not held by our strong and mighty God, we will be tossed by those stormy gales.

In preparation for Hurricane Irma, we are taking down loose fence panels, trimming dead wood from nearby trees, picking up everything that is not tied down in our yard. What’s not anchored becomes a potential projectile.

It’s easy to find those fly-away objects in a yard; it’s not so easy in a life. What might look stable could end up being the very thing that overwhelms you.

We are also filling containers with water and eating any perishable foods that might not survive an extended power outage. These are all normal preparations when you know a storm is coming.

Feeding from God’s Word, drinking from the Living Water on a daily basis helps prepare our hearts for whatever storms might come.

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Morgan and Sunny stand by the only loss our home suffered from Hurricane Charley in 2004.

So, do we just live in constant fear of future upheaval? No, that doesn’t show faith. But being prepared for the inevitable helps.

Ground yourself in God’s Word.

Listen to wise counsel.

Ask for help when you need it.

Ride out the storm in community. In other words, make sure you have good friends praying for you.

When Irma rushes by us in all her fury this weekend, we will rest in the assurance that we have done all we can to prepare. And then we trust in Jesus, that beautiful, solid Rock, for the results.

Enjoy this old Benny Hester version of the hymn containing the words mentioned above.

 

Tandem Living: Weathering the Storms

tandem bike drawingSo far in my miniseries on tandem living, I’ve talked about the importance of going in the same direction, how communication is key, that trust is essential and that people are watching us. Today I want to talk about what happens when you get caught in the rain.

A couple of years ago, on our biennial trip to Colorado, David and I were riding our rented tandem from a meeting back to the apartment where we were staying. We knew the potential for a storm was there; we were hoping we could outrun it. No such luck. We got drenched. And, unlike Florida rainstorms, this one came with some chill to it. So wet, cold and still miles from home, we could have gotten really grumpy with each other. But what good would that have done? It’s not like either one of us planned to get caught in the rain. It was simply the circumstance. We were here, and we needed to get there, and the only transportation we had was our bike. We either weathered the storm together, or we found a place to hide out and never got to where we were going until it was too late for whatever it was we were supposed to do next.

It would have been good if we had known it might rain and had been better prepared. This past summer, we knew there was a stormy day in which we would have to ride, so we had two weatherproof jackets with us. Though the rain this time wasn’t as hard, we still would have been much more wet if we hadn’t had those jackets. Preparation for the storm helped.

Before we were married, David and I attended a FamilyLife marriage conference. One of the things I most remember from that conference is one of the speakers telling us, “Your spouse is not your enemy.” If we determine to see ourselves as members of the same team, we’ll be able to face whatever confronts us much stronger. In the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, King Solomon, the writer, says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:12). The third cord is God.

For four years, from 1992 to 1996, David and I battled infertility. Month after month we hoped to be pregnant, and month after month we were disappointed. When we finally did get pregnant, under the care of an infertility doctor, I miscarried. That was certainly a storm we needed to weather together. And it made us stronger.

Strong enough to endure two more miscarriages over the next several years. Strong enough to face David’s chronic ulcerative colitis. Strong enough to weather the storm of my parents’ deaths 16 months apart. Strong enough to handle the divorce of David’s parents after 48 years of marriage.

Storms, whether actual or metaphorical, are a part of life. Without the rain, things don’t grow. Without trials, our character cannot be molded. How we face those storms in tandem living–with perseverance and partnership or anger and an adversarial outlook–determines our ultimate character. Knowing those storms will come, and having whatever tools we need to help us better face them, makes a big difference.