In less than two hours Hurricane Gustav will hit New Orleans. At 9:25 AM this killer storm has already killed 94 people on the way to LA. 2 million people have been evacuated and the ones who refused to leave the area are in danger. If you have been turned in to the news you are aware of the difference between Katrina in 2005 and today. What’s the difference? The past 3 years have been spent getting ready for the storm. If one thing good came out of Katrina it is this. The best reaction from a tragic situation is to learn something of value. America learned the important value of getting ready for the storm.
The Bible teaches that each of us will experience personal storms. Are you prepared? What can you do today to prepare you for the storms of tomorrow? Here are a few things I have learned over the years.
1. Spend consistent time in the Word today learning who God is. Knowing God will develop our faith and trust. If you don’t know who he is and what he is like your faith will be tossed to and fro with doubt when trials come. Notice I said “when” and not “if.” When I disciple someone we do a lesson called “Who is God” and learn about his attributes. Understanding who God is will be one of the best ways to get ready.
2. Keep a blessing book. When difficult seasons come it is tempting to focus on the trial today instead of his goodness of yesterday. Reviewing how God has so richly blessed my life encourages me to focus on the positive instead of what I am tempted to view as negative.
3. Read helpful stories of others. The first time I read “Sacrad Romance” I did not like it at all. I preferred a life without storms and accepting the principles forced me to acknowledge they were coming and I needed to expect them. The second time I read this book I was motivated to accept the benefits of pain and trials. There are other books I have read that have been helpful in preparing me…“Shattered Dreams” by Dr. Larry Crabb and also “Today Matters” by Dr. John Maxwell.
Experience teaches me that life can be calm one moment and chaos the next. Within a matter of moments your world can be turned upside down. The accidental death of a child, an unexpected job loss, a cancer diagnosis, divorce, rebellious teen, addiction or long term illness. The life that was now calm is now stormy.
My first prayer is that you will be assured that within every torrent there is a calm center—the eye of the storm is Jesus. My second prayer is that you will get ready for the storm and be prepared. If you are ready it may be an unexpected pathway to joy.