“Have you been watching the news?” asked my husband, Thomas.
“No, I’m unpacking.”
“Well, there’s a hurricane heading this way,” he said.
“You’re joking,” I laughed. We just got here.”
Thomas was silent.
“Are you still there,” I asked.
He sighed. “We better get things ready. I’ll be home soon.”
It was October 1, 2002. A tropical disturbance that appeared in the open Atlantic on September 21st began traveling toward New Orleans as a category 2 Hurricane. Hurricane Lili, as named by the National Weather Center, was predicted to be a four or five by landfall.
“How are we going to prepare for this storm?” I thought, while sitting in the middle of a living room filled with boxes from our recent move to New Orleans.
I had no clue. The only natural disasters we faced in my hometown of St. Louis were tornados. When the storm warnings sounded, we would hide in the basement or a bathtub. I doubted that approach would work with a tropical cyclone in a city one to sixteen feet below sea level, depending upon where you are standing.
I knocked on my next-door neighbor’s door. He appeared in dark green rain boots and a waterproof hat, even though the sky was still clear.
“Hi, Mr. Benny”
“Hello, Mrs. Reed. What can I do for you?” he said looking at his watch.
“Well, as you know we’re not from around here. And we’ve never experienced a hurricane. Can you tell me how to prepare for the storm?”
“Okay, you need a raft, one month’s supply of water, a generator, tarp, flares, coals and logs, a tent…”
Mr. Benny’s survival list would either prepare me for Hurricane Lili or Armageddon.
I knocked on another neighbor’s door.
“Excuse me, but I forgot your name.”
“I’m Sherry,” she said.
“Oh, okay, I’m Dwan. Would you mind giving me some advice on how to prepare for this crazy cyclone heading our way?”
“Sure, Honey. You need some tape for your windows, canned goods, one week supply of water, and the usuals—batteries, flashlights, etc.”
“I noticed you just said one week’s supply of water and you didn’t mention a raft or a tent.”
She laughed. “You must have been talking to Mr. Benny across the street. I’ve lived in New Orleans for years and I’ve never had to raft my way out of here and the stores usually only shut down for a week so you don’t need a lot of supplies.”
I was really confused. How could two New Orleans natives have such different opinions on how to prepare for a hurricane?
The same is true regarding spiritual storms. Just as people’s opinions vary on how to prepare for a hurricane, they also differ on how to plan for obstacles. But, God’s word makes it plain.
The Bible tells us to:
Use a spiritual-tracking guide to assess where tropical disturbances are brewing.
I Cor. 10:12,13,“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.”(ASV)
We all have potential whirlwinds in our life. If we’re not careful, cyclones will rise up that could have been avoided.
To prevent tempests, examine your life and ask yourself questions like this: How is my marriage? What are my children struggling with? Am I a good steward of God’s blessings? What relationships need improving on my job? How much time do I spend in prayer and Bible study? What are my spiritual goals? Am I taking proper care of my earthen vessel?
If any of these areas exhibit a low-pressure system, seek God’s help immediately!
Learn to recognize God’s voice.
In the height of a storm, gale force winds rage, showers pound, thunder quakes, and hail cracks. With all the clatter, it’s easy to misunderstand what we hear. A violent surge of wind can mimic a knock at the door. Branches scraping a window can sound like voices. A twister can imitate the roar of a freight train.
Spiritual storms can be noisy too. God calls out to us as the winds rage, but so does Satan. When we’re not familiar with the Savior’s will, it’s easy to follow the wrong path.
No one can lead us astray when we are grounded in Truth. By studying the scriptures daily and learning God’s will, we can clearly His voice when trials and tribulations assail us. His words contain the spiritual solution for any issue we encounter.
The Bible is our life jacket. The Lord’s message brings peace, healing, and meaning to our lives. We come through the storms of life victorious, growing in faith, hope, and love day by day.
John 10:3-5, “The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”(The Message)
Hurricane Lili peaked at a category four in the Gulf, but by the time it reached New Orleans on October 3, 2008, it was a one. Although a minor hurricane, the city suffered significant damage from gale force winds and flooding.
It’s difficult to know how big or small a storm will be before it makes landfall. Yet despite our lack of information, we must get ready. When prepared, we’re better able to face the difficulties that lie ahead and grow spiritually from each cyclone, tornado, or hurricane that comes our way.
Copyright 2010 by Dwan Reed. All rights reserved.