Thanks to Hurricane Hermine, we’ve been without power for nearly 72 hours, and it could still be another day before it’s back on. But we’re not complaining! With running water, a small generator for the fridge, a gas stove to cook on, and no structural damage, we’re the fortunate ones. For many others—without food, water, and adequate shelter—the storm has not yet passed.
In the midst of this, I have come up with a new personal motto: Prepare well to fare well.
In other words, those who prepare for the storm will probably get through it better than those who don’t. Of course, none of us knows what tomorrow will bring, and there’s only so much we can plan for. Ultimately, it is God who provides for us and protects us. (See Genesis 22:14 and Psalm 41:1-2.)
As I sit here on my front porch, writing by the light of a hurricane lamp, I ponder what this has to do with the storms in our spiritual lives.
We’ve all survived spiritual storms. Some, like tornadoes, come unannounced, bringing turbulent winds of destruction and change. Others are like hurricanes, causing us to shrink with anxiety for weeks as we watch them grow in strength and power. Even the regular summer showers can uproot our everyday comfort and flood us with despair.
We know we will encounter these spiritual storms again, sooner or later. Instead of just surviving these storms, what can we do to start thriving in the midst of them?
In the natural world, we seek out needed information before, during, and after the storm. We watch the weather channel, looking for colorful radar maps and pretending to understand spaghetti models. We surf social media, on the lookout for emergency alerts and bulletins. This information is our life line during a crisis.
In the spiritual sense, we need to tune into God regularly. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.) He will often give us warnings of coming danger, will direct our steps during the storm, and will give us the strength to regroup and move forward. (See Psalm 5:8.) Talk to God throughout each day, and listen to the guidance He has for you.
Before the storm, you have to drive to the store, stand in line, and stock up on supplies. When you get home, you have to put the batteries in the flashlights and radios, bring in the lawn furniture, pack a bag in case you need to evacuate …. Then, if there is a storm, you have to file the insurance claim, cut down the tree, cook on the camp stove, sit in the hot house …. It’s exhausting!
If we’re to survive spiritual storms, we need to be as prepared as we would be for a hurricane. We have to stock up on resources before the storm so they’re available to us after it hits. Remember, our spiritual food and supplies are God Himself. Allow the living water of God’s Spirit to dwell within you, and you will never thirst. Store the bread of God’s Word in your heart, and you will never hunger. (See John 4:10 and John 6:35.) After a storm, you will be amply prepared.
Regardless of our preparation, all of us are vulnerable to accidents during and after a storm. Whether we like it or not, we rely on others to help us: firemen to quell the flames, policemen to keep the peace, and hospitals to tend the wounded. However, it’s often family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers, who save us in our time of need.
Sometimes, we’re the ones with the answers and the resources; that’s when we need to share a word of wisdom, a warm hug, or a helping hand. Other times, we’re the ones in need, and we have to humble ourselves to listen to counsel or to take the help that is being offered. You cannot get through life—even your spiritual life—on your own. (See Luke 10:25-37.) Look at your spiritual resources and that of others around you, and share what you have.
If we can incorporate these three areas—Prayer, Perspiration, and People—into our everyday lives, we can prepare for future spiritual storms. Instead of just surviving these storms, we will be able to thrive in the midst of them!
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39 NAS).