The Calm Before the Storm

I have to admit, I’m not always the most prepared person when it comes to natural disasters. It’s hard to prepare for a disaster when everything outside looks calm. So, I asked several of my friends if they had ever been without water or electricity. Several of them said, “Yes! During Hurricane Ike, we didn’t have water or electricity for a week!” After hearing many people make similar statements, I figured I should probably get some food and water just in case Hurricane Harvey was as bad as the media was portraying.

Home Alone during the hurricane

On Friday, it rained all day but everything was running business as usual. I still had to go to work my retail job. Then, on Saturday, the Hurricane turned into a tropical storm, but the rain continued and flooding ensued. My husband is a first responder in Houston. He was called in to work 12-hour overnight shifts. Saturday evening, he left the house. I gave him a hug and kiss goodbye, and told him I loved him and respected him. Then, I continued to make preparations around the house – gathered the candles, lanterns, flashlights, and filled the bathtub with water.

Overwhelming Fear

Saturday night, I kept up with the news via Twitter and Facebook.  If you know me, I’m rarely ever scared or worried by these types of things. I don’t tend to worry until something has happened. As a first responder’s wife, you would think I’d be used to worrying, but not really. I normally assume my husband is safe on the job. I was home alone, but that is fairly normal since my husband and I work different shifts.

But, this evening just felt different. When it came time to go to bed, I couldn’t fall asleep. Suddenly, I was overcome with fear. My husband was out of the house, working as a first responder, in the middle of a tropical storm. I was home alone and it was pounding rain. There was no end in sight. Suddenly, all my fears came to the surface. I thought, what if something happens to my husband? What if I become a widow? What if this leak in my roof gets worse? What if water starts seeping through my door and floods the first floor and I’m home alone? What will I grab or try to salvage? What if, what if, what if…?

Hope in the Midst of fear

What do you do when you’re afraid and alone? There is no one there to comfort you or console you.  I did the only thing I could do, cry out to Jesus.

First, I had to remind myself that God does not give me a spirit of fear! He gives me a spirit of love, power, and self-control (1 Timothy 1:7). So, I had to tell God to rebuke that evil spirit! Then, I had to remind myself that nothing I own is or should be that important. Honestly, I was worried about my wedding photo album, school books, and laptop. (I still have 3 papers due this week!)

But realistically, while it would be really sad to lose wedding photos, that is really nothing in comparison to my marriage. The photos are just a reminder of the day we made a commitment to enter into a covenant relationship. But, my marriage is something I get to live out each day, God-willing, and it has lasting treasure. I need to hold loosely to the things of this world and set my eyes on the things above.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

Rain could destroy my wedding photos, but it will never destroy my marriage and all the love my husband and I share. Thankfully, I am safe and my house is okay. But, as I was in bed on Saturday night, it was like God was exposing my heart and laying it bare. He was changing my perspective. God was reminding me that regardless of what happens, my real treasure is in heaven.

God’s Hand at Work in the Storm

In the midst of Hurricane Harvey, I know that God’s hand is at work. We don’t understand how or why he would allow such devastation, but we know he has a purpose and plan. Whenever I see the rain come down, this scripture comes to mind:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:10-12

There has been so much devastation and loss, but at the same time, there has been so much hope. I don’t think I have ever seen such a call to prayer, as a time like this! Natural disasters have a way of humbling us because we have no control. It puts into perspective, how small we are. We realize we can lose everything we own, the things we worked hard for, the things we think we deserved. Suddenly, the only hope we have is to pray and call on the one who does have control. The reality is:

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” -Psalm 24:1

In the midst of confusion and loss, take heart because we know that:

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9

God will do whatever it takes to bring his people to him. He is a just God, but ultimately, he wants us to know him. In the midst of this storm, I get to know him as my comforter (2 Corinthians 1:3), the Lord who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind (Jeremiah 11:20), and my very great reward (Genesis 15:1).

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