Yesterday an ice storm hit Birmingham, Alabama hard. The city wasn’t prepared for it. The local weather stations communicated they would get a “light dusting at best” and most of the ice and snow would be south of central Alabama. The problem is that the storm shifted. This changed the forecast but thousands of people were already at work, children and youth were at school, and people were out doing life as normal. Thousands were stuck on interstates, highways, at schools, at work and everywhere you can imagine. There were many accidents, some fatal and I even heard of folks trying to walk who fell on the ice and suffered head injuries.
As of this morning many people in Birmingham are still stranded. This morning I’m sitting with a cup of coffee in my PJ’s while enjoying family time. What’s the difference? We were prepared for the ice storm thanks to the local news.
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 “Sacred Romance” I didn’t 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.
A person who is not ready for a personal storm can become bitter, resentful, cynical and even engage in self sabotage. i.e. unhealthy relationships, alcohol, drugs and even suicide. The can live life in a pit of destruction missing out on the abundant life God desires us to have. (John 10:10)
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.
Are you prepared for a storm?