Are you prepared?
This past Sunday morning at church, my husband and I shared some about our lives. As we were getting dressed and ready, the remnants of hurricane Nate hit our city. As I listened to the wind and rain and news reports, I got to thinking about what we were going to share and how life is often like a storm. It's like this...
Sometimes you have a warning that a big storm is coming and you have time to prepare by stocking up on supplies just in case you are stranded and without services. You board up your windows, put out your sandbags, and you do what you can. Sometimes, to protect yourself and your family, you just have to leave and remove yourself from the path of the storm.
You know the storm is going to be bad, and you probably won't escape damage, but until it's over, you have no idea how hard of a hit you are going to take. Then it comes. Band after band of rain, wind, hail, tornadoes - destruction. Finally, it's over. Hallelujah, you survived. But, you've taken a hit. There is a lot of damage, clean-up, and storm aftermath to deal with. Sometimes it's minor and other times a total loss. Either way, you need help, so you look to churches, communities, agencies and the government for assistance. The clean-up, repairs or even rebuilding takes time, energy, and resources and can leave you emotionally, physically and financially drained. Life can sometimes be like a hurricane.
Next, I started thinking about all the fires out west. People fleeing their homes with only the clothes on their backs. Some will escape the damage and others will lose everything. Unlike a hurricane, there is often no time to prepare. Winds spread like fire and in an instant, lives changed forever.
Life is like this. Our circumstances can change so suddenly. Sometimes we've done the best we can to prepare, and other times we are totally blindsided. There are times we make it through with little damage and other times we suffer total losses. In our stunned, dazed, confused and probably overwhelmed state we wonder what in the world is going on. We need help. We might even cry out to God asking:
Where are you?
As our lives lay in shambles, these are valid questions.
There is a storm ahead. We may not know when it will hit or how hard it will hit or even what kind of storm it will be, but there is a storm ahead. Sometimes the storms will come one after another after another. You will no sooner get through one before the next one comes. Are we prepared?
Our church is filled with young men and women which probably makes us the oldest folks there. So, in thinking about where to share, where do we begin? How much do we share? After all, we only had 45 minutes, and we've got decades to share. It goes something like this.
- Our 20's: A decade of stability. We got married, and our whole lives ahead of us filled with dreams and plans.
- Our 30's: A decade of shattering. Dreams shattered, plans that didn't come close to working out (didn't see that one coming), and more questions about life than answers.
- Our 40's: A decade of searching and seeking. God, where are you? God, what are you doing? God, why? God, help! With no answers and almost no hope, we turned to God's Word to dig for answers, find comfort and strength and we didn't come up for air until we found them.
- Our 50's: A decade of serving. While we'd loved the church families we'd had during each city and decade, served in many roles in those churches, and sat under some great teaching, this decade of service was much more intentional. Because God through His Spirit and Word had sustained us, taught us and brought us through the shattering storms, we wanted others to know Him through the study of His Word as we had come to know Him.We want to help people get and be prepared.
- Our 60's: A decade of sorrow. While we are still in our 60's, it's felt like a decade already! We've suffered one loss after another loss after another loss.
The decade of shattering was kind of like our first major hurricane followed by multiple hurricanes, and we might as well throw in a fire. It took years to rebuild (so to speak). But, the decade that followed of seeking God for answers was also a decade of preparedness! Little did we know that a decade of sorrow was coming that would hit fast, be furious, and rock our world. Had it not been for God's Word, we would have perished (Psalm 119:92).
Charles Stanley says it this way: "God's Word is an immovable anchor in times of storms." Oh yes! God's Word was and continues to be our anchor in times of storms. The decade of sorrow has left us a bit ruffled. We did suffer some damage, and we are still recovering, but we survived. Our anchor, Jesus, and the Word held us and continues to hold us. The storm is awful but the Anchor is awesome. Getting to know more about Him and watch Him in the storm? Amazing.
How about you? Are you ready? Are you prepared to weather the next storm ahead? There is a life preparedness manual. It's called the Word of God. Everything you need to know is in there, but it's important you read it and know it for yourself. If you aren't sure where to start, just stop and pray and ask God to show you where to start and how to get prepared. While you are at it, ask God to help you find people whose anchor during times of storms is Jesus and the Word of God. When He shows you, ask them about their storm stories so you can learn how God brought them through. Please, just prepare yourself. Storm ahead.