Prepared for the Storm

For a while this weekend, those of us here in Tampa thought Hurricane Isaac was headed our way. The storm was averted – good for us, not so good for our neighbors to the northwest – but we didn’t know that for sure until Monday morning. Or at least I didn’t.

My friend, Kristie, on the other hand, knew all about it. She was tracking Isaac on her phone, staying in contact with friends who knew about the storm, loading up her transistor radio with new batteries just in case she lost her Internet and cable. She was prepared. She has a pantry full of foods that could feed her family (and mine!) for several days – with power or without. Her flashlights were all in place – with new batteries, of course – and she has plenty of water for drinking, washing, and tooth brushing, should the storm compromise the water in her home.

I had a couple candles and some granola bars.

My emergency plan? To drive, walk, swim, or canoe my way to Kristie’s house. Otherwise, we’d all be dehydrated, starving, and completely clueless about what might come next.

But the whole thing made me think, not about this particular storm, but about Storms with a capital “S.” Life Storms. Stuff that comes out of the blue, knocks you flat with no warning, throws you around and leaves you bruised and broken and hurting.

My friend Melissa  has been hit with some horrific life storms recently. She lost her older brother to cancer just last month. Just weeks after his funeral, her mother had to be hospitalized due to some difficult health issues. She is still dealing with those issues, still hospitalized, still struggling. Yet, Melissa can still  manage to find joy in the middle of that storm. Other friends, Joel and Krista, are trying desperately to adopt two precious girls in Costa Rica. The red tape has been so thick I know it sometimes must feel like they will  never get free. They take two steps forward, one step back, and have been dealing with this for months on end. Yet they are still thankful, hopeful, rejoicing.

How do people manage to deal with life’s storms without falling apart?

They spiritual pantries are full. Like Kristie, the wise person “stocks” her spiritual pantry with everything she’ll need in case of a storm. People like Melissa, Joel, and Krista don’t just wake up one day and decide they’re going to be strong. They already have strength. They have spent time allowing God to work in their hearts and their lives. They have been studying, praying, communing with other believers, growing closer to Christ, more like him. Their souls are “stocked” with Truth, so that when they are hit, they can cling to it, hide in it, and be sheltered by it.

Living in Florida – on the coast – I know that storms are inevitable. They will come. The question is — will I be prepared? It is the same with life. Storms will come. We will get hit with the unexpected, the painful, with heartbreak and heartache. We can’t avoid it. But we can be prepared. That doesn’t mean that the storms will be easy. It doesn’t mean we won’t get beat up and bruised. But it does mean that we can survive them, grow from them.

How’s your “spiritual pantry”? Does it look like Kristie’s, ready for whatever may come?

“When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.”Proverbs 10:25

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