Saturday, July 10, 2021

Preparing for Storms


Photo by NOAA 2015

In Florida, hurricane season opened with a bang with the threat of Tropical Storm Elsa, which was upgraded to a hurricane before the winds died down sufficiently so that it was downgraded once again. But in the meantime, our home and businesses lay directly in the projected track of U.S. landfall, where the forecast predicted high winds, incessant rain, flooding, thunderstorms, and possible tornadoes, as well as likely power outages.

So my husband brought in or tied down all outdoor furniture and trash cans, barricaded doors in low-lying areas with sandbags, cleared debris from the parking lot drain, drained excess water from the pool at a rental property, filled up the gas tanks, and lugged a generator from a shed to an overhang near the house, where he got it running so that it could be connected to a freezer.

Meanwhile, I filled any empty spaces in the refrigerator and freezer with water bottles, drinks and bags of ice, and cranked up the dials so that the contents would stay cooler longer if we were without electricity for any length of time. I gathered up the flashlights, batteries, and emergency supplies and strategically placed them around the house where they would be easy to find at night. I filled up the tubs with water and charged our laptops and devices. I even cleaned the house so that it would be ready if my son and his wife, who live nearer to a flood zone, decided to stay with us.

Prayer was the most vital part of our preparation (Psalm 143:1; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6) – for safety for us and for all in Elsa’s path, for protection of our property and businesses against any damage, and for us not to lose power so that we would not have to stop working or to lose perishable food.

Thankfully, Elsa’s track shifted a little and her strength dissipated before making U.S. landfall. God answered our prayers (Psalm 42:8; 66:19-20; Matthew 21:22) for personal safety and for that of our family and loved ones, for protection against any damage, and even for no interruption in power! (Had that last prayer not been answered, I would not be writing and posting this blog post now!)

The following morning, we surveyed the scene and confirmed that all was well, praise the Lord! We then began the long ritual of undoing all we had done the day before – removing the sandbags, taking the lawn furniture outside, and replacing everything to where it was normally stored. Doing and undoing hard work is never pleasant, but we thanked God for answered prayer and that we were doing that instead of having to deal with repairing damage or potentially even worse consequences.

An unexpected blessing (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 3:20) was that we had a freshly cleaned house and lots of steps and minutes of continuous exercise tracked on our activity monitors!

Preparing for the storm reminded me not only of God’s protection (Proverbs 1:33; 3:23) and faithfulness (Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 89:8; Isaiah 25:1; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Peter 4:19), but it also got me thinking about how dependent we are on power to fuel our daily lives. Had the storm struck harder or closer to home, we could have been without light, running water, air conditioning in 90 degree heat and high humidity, refrigeration, flushing toilets, transportation, and Internet or phone communication.

Knowing this, we were highly motivated to do all we could to ensure alternate power sources for these vital needs. But these were a poor substitute for the free-flowing electrical power we normally enjoy, and they would eventually run out.

Praise God, He is the ultimate source of power (2 Samuel 22:33; 2 Chronicles 20:6; 25:8; Job 36:22; Psalm 62:11; 150:1) that never runs out and that created all and fuels all activities in the universe and in Heaven! (Jeremiah 32:17; Romans 1:20). God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). He is the Fountain of Living Water (Song of Solomon 4:15; Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13; John 4:10-11) freely flowing to all who trust in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6).

He is our Sustainer (Psalm 3:5; 55:22; Colossians 1:17) Who provides for our every need (Matthew 6:8, 32; Luke 12:30). He is our Comforter (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) Who guides us better than any GPS, teaches us more than we could ever learn online, and gives us the words to speak in prayer (Romans 8:26) even when we are cut off from earthly channels of communicating with others.

Just as we repeatedly face physical storms, we must also contend with spiritual storms, for our battles are not against the earthly realm, but against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places. But thankfully, we can be strong in God, and in the power of His might. In spiritual warfare, we do not need to barricade our doors with sandbags or board our windows, but we do need to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

When preparing for a hurricane or other danger, it is prudent to prepare (Proverbs 22:3), including putting aside enough water and nonperishable food for our family for at least several days. But God is our ultimate Provider, Who assures us that our physical needs for food, clothing and shelter will be met (Psalm 37:25), provided our first priority is to seek His righteousness (Matthew 6:22-32) through faith in the shed blood and resurrection of His Son (Ephesians 2:5-8).

Even more importantly, He gives us our daily spiritual bread (Matthew 6:11) through His Word, if we take the time to meditate on it daily and to seek His counsel through prayer. He alone can give us the living water that nourishes and replenishes our soul so that we will never thirst! (John 6:35-48)

In today’s developed world, living without power is not only an inconvenience but a potential health hazard and major disruption to our way of life. But we can be so thankful that God’s power is never depleted and is always available to us!

If we experience any sense of ebbing current in our spiritual life, it is not God’s shortcoming but our own. Unconfessed sin (Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9), pride manifest as reliance on our own flesh rather than on His omnipotence (1 John 2:16), rebellion against or unbelief in His Word (Hebrews 3:12), or a husband failing to honor his wife (1 Peter 3:7) can all block His light from shining through us and interrupt His power from flowing through us to bless us and those around us.

But if we find our fellowship with God broken because of these sins, all we need do is repent and take the first step back toward Him, for like the Father of the prodigal son, He is waiting to run to us with open arms! (Luke 15:11-32)

As we face life’s storms, whether physical or spiritual, may we rely on Jesus Christ, our Rock (Matthew 16:18) and Strong Tower (Proverbs 18:10), our Sustainer, Comforter, Counselor (Isaiah 9:6), Light of the world (John 1:9; 8:12; 9:5), and Almighty God! 

© 2021 Laurie Collett



Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
I sometimes wonder how you and all who live in the Hurricane Zone can cope with the annual season.
As you described, the need to "batten down the hatches" every time the forecast predicts a storm coming your way. Furthermore, if I'm right, Florida does not have much high ground, either.
Here in the UK, we always moan about the weather. It's also a good way to greet one another and start a conversation.
But by living on the summit of a hill, flooding will never be a problem. Instead, we just put up with cool, wet summers and mild, damp winters!
As you say, we too can thank God for all the supernatural powers He gives us. This includes keeping our marriage robust.
God's blessings to you and Richard.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Storms are a continued threat here in Florida in the summer, but the flip side is that we don't have to shovel snow! Having lived in the northern US until my early thirties, I definitely prefer Florida! But everywhere has its particular challenges, at least until we get to Heaven, where all conditions will always be perfect!
Praise the Lord for His infinite power, and that He sometimes chooses to use us to manifest it.
Thanks as always for your insightful comment. May God bless you and Alex,

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
thank God that those terrible weather conditions did not harm you and your belongings. Yes, when we rely on our Father and His precious Son to be our protection in Spiritual storms, we are also protected from physical ones. The Holy Spirit is our guide in this world, and no weapon formed against us will harm us. Our God understands we are flesh and are not perfect, and just as He will give us physical protection when the enemy tries to harm us, He will also give us Spiritual protection as we grow in Him through His precious Word, learning His ways and acquiring His thoughts. So glad that God blessed you and Richard with calm in the storm.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Thank you for your uplifting comment praising God for His faithfulness. Praise God that He understands our frame, was tested in all things as we are, and understands our weaknesses to protect us from all harm.
May God bless you, your family and lovely ministry,

Aritha said...

Thank you for this powerful blog. There is a good lesson in for me.
God bless you.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Aritha,
You're very welcome, and thank you for your lovely comment! God bless you too,