I live in Texas and we don’t have much rain. It is a pretty dry state for the most part. We have been in and out of droughts for most of the time my husband and I have been here. We recently had floods and last year we had an abundance of rain. We have now gone through a dry period with little or no rain.
In the last few days they have prepared us for rain this next week. It could possibly rain all week. The potential for stormy weather looms. One night while listening to the news and watching the weather anchorwoman she told us to prepare for bad weather. She emphasized we are to know where we are to go in case of bad weather and what to do if a storm hits. She suggested it was best to prepare ahead of time for bad weather instead of waiting for it to hit and then make preparations. I was thinking that was pretty good advice, but we should know that right? Be prepared before the storm hits makes perfect sense to me. When we arrived in Texas and realized the severity of the storms here I asked my husband where I should go in our home if a storm hits. He has shown me the safest place to be in our home. So for today and the rest of the week I will be on watch for storms to come my way and prepare myself for whatever comes.
I thought about that in my own life. How many times have I known ahead of times when the storms of life are going to hit? Looking back on my life I have never known when I am about to be hit with something I cannot handle. When we delivered our son we were ecstatic, but just as quickly a storm was upon us and we were hit. We had no warning; it just happened. I can think that about several things in my life that were exciting events and then suddenly a storm hit. I am sure you can too.
Maybe a new job that you were excited about and then suddenly you found yourself in the middle of a storm. Or you were excited about a move and then plans fell through and once again in the middle of a storm. Very rarely are we warned about the storms in our lives that show up when we least expect it. Like a bad thunderstorm they just pop up and give us little warning.
Like the anchorwoman suggested that is not the time to prepare for the storm. The preparations should already be done. Instead of scrambling to get to a safe spot the groundwork should already be in place. We should already know what to do and where to go.
What does that mean for us Christians? That means doing our groundwork ahead of time. That means first a relationship with God. I am thinking it’s not best to come to God when we are in the midst of a storm (although He will be more than happy to welcome us then too). I have known way too many that have gone to God in the midst of storms, accepted Him, promised to follow Him if He would just get them out of the storm that is happening. When He does and the weather clears so do they. They vanish forgetting what they promised to God until the next storm comes. It is best to be prepared and have a relationship long before the storm hits. If the storm hits and we want to start a relationship that is great, but be prepared to follow through. God wants to be more than a storm clearer. He wants us all the time; good and bad. He will take us whenever He can get us. He will never turn us away, but let’s get prepared ahead of time.
Reading God’s word and knowing what is in His book is another way to prepare ourselves. There are so many stories and parables on how to get through the storms of life. When we take medicine to feel better we read the directions on how to take it and when to take it. It’s the same way with the Bible. We are to read, study and let it guide us through each storm that passes. Reading God’s word ahead of time helps us as we go through the storms. We can read about Job and all the storms he went through and see that God walked with him through his storms. We can read about Jonah and what happened to him when he refused to follow God. When we find we have turned from God we can see how God helped Jonah come back and be in union once again with God. Reading God’s word is comforting, but it also can prepare us for what lies ahead of us. Now it’s okay to grab the Bible during the storm and often I do, but if I had never prepared I wouldn’t know where to turn to or who to turn to in the Bible for what I am going through. I have to be prepared. When we are in the midst of a storm and have never opened the Bible before the Bible can seem daunting and confusing. Be prepared; read the stories and parables on how to get through storms.
Prayer is always a good place to start preparations for a storm. Only God can see the whole picture of our lives. God knows what is ahead of us. Asking God for His strength for the days, weeks, months and years ahead is a really good start to prepare for a storm. When we are in the midst of a storm we know all we have to do is go to Him and He will calm us and give us the strength and courage to get through the storm. As I have gone through the storms of life I have always started with prayer. He has reminded me gently that this is not the first storm we have been through. I am reminded of how He has handled the storms of past and how He has managed to get me through them. Just knowing when a storm hits I have Him to go to prepares me for whatever lies ahead that I can’t see.
Finally, having a good base of Christian friends, family and support team is another good way to prepare us for the storms. When the storm hits we often run to our safe place. A safe place for me during my storms is with those who I can count on to help me through the storm. There is nothing like having a friend or family or clergy to help you through those rough times. They will often pray you through the storm. I have had more than one friend, family member, or clergy pray me through storms. Again, this is based on having a relationship with them. I have been friends with a few who all they ever wanted from me was prayer for their many needs. When the sun came out and life was good they were gone. I never spoke to them until the next crisis hit. I am always here to pray for anyone who is going through a crisis, but I want to be with you as you experience God’s goodness and love and on those sunny days.
They tell you to have a flashlight handy in case electricity goes out. God’s love is brighter than any flashlight I could every buy. God’s love for each of us will brighten our paths during those dark stormy days. Another thing they often tell you to have on hand is a battery operated radio. God’s voice is all the radio I need. I just need to “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10) Roy Acuff sang a song a long time ago and part of the lyrics go, “Get in touch with God turn your radio on Turn your radio on turn your radio on and listen to the music in the air Turn your radio on heaven’s glory share Turn the lights down low and listen to the Master’s radio Get in touch with God turn your radio on” All you need is to turn on God’s radio; it needs no battery.
So now are you prepared or are you the type that will wait for the storm to hit and then prepare? We will never know when those storms hit, we cannot be warned (most of the time) when life is about to take a nose dive or a tornado will hit our comfortable lives. The best thing we can do is be prepared.
Guess now it’s time to make sure all my preparations are in place. How about you?
Dear God: Storms pop up and very rarely are we warned ahead of time. I am learning to be prepared ahead of time. I know it’s about having those things ready for whenever they are needed. When they are needed and I have not gathered them or figured out where to go or what to do I can get anxious and stressed. Thank you for those friends, family and clergy that I can call on to help me through those rough times, but mostly thank you for being with me in the midst of the storms. I appreciate your calming Spirit and your tender touch. Watch over us today as we prepare for storms. Guide us through them and remind us you are always near. Amen