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Twenty-one million people in Florida await the hour when Hurricane Irma comes to town, and I happen to be one of them. From the tip of southern Florida to the northernmost regions, each county anticipates high winds, heavy rains, storm surge, tornadoes, or all of the above.
I’m not even from Florida – I’m a West Virginian.
(Where there are no beaches or threat of sea water – also, the very reason I love Florida. However, the tides of my mind are beginning to shift.)
So, here we are in the gulf, holed up in a concrete, fortified structure with 23 people, 4 dogs, 3 Maltese puppies, and a cat somewhere. Even as I type, I’m listening to the drone of newscasters updating and updating and updating.
At least four TVs broadcast local news throughout the building. We are in on the weather loop, folks. In fact, after this storm is over I’m thinking of becoming a meteorologist. I know all the lingo – pretty sure I’d make the cut.
My mind has turned to Scripture during the night hours leading up to this predicted storm day. Ya’ll, I am so thankful for Scripture memory (starting as a youngster – my mom challenging me with Bible memory programs).
Because so many are in the path of this storm, I feel compelled to share a few of my go-to “comfort verses”, not only for we “current” Floridians, but for those of you who love us as well.
1.) Whithersoever Hurricane Irma comes to town
The word, “Whithersoever” has rolled around in my mind the past few days, and I think it’s pretty much my favorite word in the King James language right now.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you whithersoever you go.” – Joshua 1:9, ESV, with KJV “whithersoever” reinserted because for me, it encompasses more.
WHITHERSOEVER. Like hurricanes and such.
2.) Casting care when Hurricane Irma comes to town
After the disciples spent a weary night fishing with nary a bite, Jesus used their boat to sit in and preach God’s word to the pressing crowds. The disciples washed their nets, having given up hope. But as soon as Christ finished, He told Peter to cast the nets back into the water.
Of course, we know what happened. They cast those nets, hundreds of fish leaped into them, and Peter fell down at Christ’s feet in complete awe.
Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. I Peter 5:7
We can cast our nets full of anxiety on Christ, just like they cast their nets. The difference is, we exchange our worries for His peace.
3.) Peace when Hurricane Irma comes to town
It’s human nature to be scared. We fear unforeseen circumstances and impending situations. The truth is, we really do not know how this storm will play out. In the past five days, we’ve heard of a hundred different hurricane paths and all we can do is wait and follow these directives:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. I Peter 5:7
Don’t be anxious
Pray in everything
Give thanks in everything
Tell God your earnest requests
Receive God’s unsurpassed peace
4.) God’s presence when Hurricane Irma comes to town
I find great comfort in knowing God thinks about me. In fact, He thinks of me so much that His thoughts are more than the sand of the sea. Appropriate, yes?
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. Psalm 139:17
This same passage says, “If I dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me,
and Your right hand shall hold me” (10).
5.) God’s promises when Hurricane Irma comes to town
This is quite possibly the most comforting Scripture to me in this storm:
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. Psalm 139:17
No matter how weak our faith, God’s promises are unfailing. No matter our feelings, fears, and doubts, God’s promises are all a resounding YES.
YES to God’s presence, whithersoever we go
YES to casting care in exchange for God’s care
YES to peace that passes all understanding through the gift of prayer
YES to God’s comforting presence and thoughts towards us
In the time it’s taken me to craft this blog post, the path in which Hurricane Irma comes to town has been redirected once again. For us, the news seems better. But for others, it threatens destruction.
Thank you to all who are praying, loving, and lifting us up in church today. We’ve written Joshua 1:9 on the work whiteboard and we’re playing scrabble and walking dogs (and looking for the ever elusive cat). Friends offer hugs of support, boys play xbox, and the puzzle team works tirelessly to complete the picture of a dinosaur in foilage.
If you’re somewhere in Florida reading this right now, I hope this brings you comfort. And if you love someone in Florida, I hope it does you too.
And my take on when Hurricane Irma comes to town? Don’t trust in man’s predictions; trust in God’s salvation. God’s eternal, everlasting, preparation-of-the-gospel-of-peace salvation!
It’ll last long past the effects of Irma.