Today I’m reposting a blog from two years ago—one I wrote as we awaited Hurricane Irma. Although other parts of Florida were hit hard, the outcome of Irma for us and for our area was that although there were many trees, fences, and power lines down, and so much debris, there was relatively little damage to homes, and the force of the winds was much less than what was first expected.
Now there is another hurricane looming: Dorian. Although the hurricane is not headed for the Tampa Bay area, there are still many in its path that are overcome by fear. I talked to someone on Florida’s east coast who at one point freaked out with fear, convinced that the hurricane would surely hit their home and destroy everything they owned. Now the hurricane has turned, and that individual has calmed some. Yet there are others in its current path who are battling immense fear as they hear that the storm is now heading their way.
Every time I think of hurricanes, I think of the storms that come into our lives. The bottom line is whether it’s a hurricane or the storm of a trial or trauma, God can still be trusted. He can and will calm us as we wait.
LETTING GO OF FEAR WHILE WAITING FOR THE STORM
First posted on September 9, 2017
“Dreading the Worst.”
I read the newspaper headline as I jogged past a newspaper in our neighbors’ driveway.
Many people I encounter in recent days seem filled with dread.
“I’m so afraid,” a number of people said to me today.
What brings on this fear and dread?
Hurricane Irma looms to the south of us and threatens to bring forceful winds, lots of rain, and a storm surge.
I believe in preparation for such storms.
But I reject that fear should be our number one emotional response.
Instead of dreading the worst, I pray for the best possible outcome—for the least injury and loss of life and minimal damage to property.
As I focus on the Lord, He urges me not to join in with the fear and fretting going on around me.
One reason for this is the waiting and not knowing.
But isn’t much of life like that?
As I contemplate the choice of fear or faith in the times of approaching storms—even those with hurricane force winds–I know certain wonderful assets these impending storms like Irma can’t take from me.
Some which come quickly to mind are God’s peace, God’s presence, God’s love, my salvation, joy. Also, storms can’t negate the promises God offers to me from His Word.
Yet if I give in to fear, all of these items on my list can seem out of reach and unreal. I can feel alone and trapped in fear.
I realize one reason people give in to fear as they wait for a hurricane to arrive is they spend the day watching TV and see the winds tear through other areas. Those images loom large in their minds.
Yes, I want to know where the storm is and what to expect, but I don’t have to keep my eyes on the problem of the impending storm all day long.
I can focus on the Lord—my provider in the midst of storms—in the natural world and those storms which threaten my heart and soul.
I think of St Maarten where Irma brought devastating damage. Instead of allowing those images to torment my mind, I thought of how the island could be restored—again. On a cruise several years ago, I visited this island with my husband, and we really enjoyed our time there. We had a bus tour with a wonderful bus driver/ tour guide.
He told of a past hurricane which damaged so much on their island. But the wonderful news was they rebuilt it all and once again welcomed cruise ships and the tourists who provided their livelihood.
Today I prayed for that bus driver–that God would keep him strong and help him to grow in faith during this difficult time.
Yesterday I listened to the radio in my car as I ran errands. Uplifting songs lifted me above fearful thoughts of Irma.
One verse the DJ read reassured me: “He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed” (Psalm 107:29). This verse reminded me my God looms so much larger than this or any storm.
At any moment with one word or with one breath, He could dissipate the storm. But for some reason, it seems He allows most to take their course.
But this I know: even when the storm rages around me, He can cause my soul to be still in the midst of the storm, and He can hush the waves inside of me which threaten to mess with me and my life.
The DJ encouraged listeners to continue to tune in throughout the time we waited for the storm to arrive and to let go of fear.
I like what He said at the end of his pep talk to Christians in Florida facing Irma’s arrival: “Let’s trust Him as we go through the storm together.”
That’s exactly what storms do—the hurricane kind and the kind which threaten to ravage our souls—they teach us to trust God.
As I wait for Irma to reach my town, that’s exactly what I’m determined to do—to let go of fear and trust the Lord.
This verse comes to mind: “What time I am afraid, I will have confidence in and put my trust and reliance in You” (Psalm 56:3 AMPC).
I pray for grace to keep obeying this life-changing directive.
I look forward to all the ways God will continue to assure me in the midst of this storm and others I will face in the future.
No matter what happens, He remains faithful.
My Anchor – Christy Nockels & Passion