Our family is preparing for the onslaught of Tropical Storm Hermine (not to be confused with the storm from '98 by the same name). Because we're officially Floridians now, we're preparing by...changing our swimming plans, really. That's about it.
I was always so impressed as a child when I saw the pictures of Tropical Storms on radar, and I know they can be serious sometimes, but our experiences thus far have been underwhelming. Last year, Tropical Storm Colin actually had less rain the month preceding it, and the wind around our area was hardly recognizable as wind to Midwestern snobs like us.
I have friends who have lost homes in Hurricanes in the past - brutes like Andrew and the like - but that is not something we've had to deal with yet. So far I'll still take hurricanes over tornadoes any day. I like the week of warning we get before the landfall of major storms.
Which brings me to my wider point, really. I can't help but draw a direct correlation between the storms around me, and the storms in my own life and the lives of people I love. Sometimes they come like a tornado, and we're stunned, swept away, our lives destroyed in an instant of panic, and then it's over - the sudden death of a love one, an accident, a disaster.
Other storms send out warning clouds - a diagnosis, a failing marriage. The pressure changes; the air blows from a new direction. You know the storm is coming, and you know it won't pass quickly. It may blow itself out and be nothing but a gentle rain by the time you feel its wrath, or it may blow up into something that takes away everything you love, drowning your previous existence in floods of tears.
In either case, the tornado or the hurricane, we do not have the strength to survive that storm alone. We cannot, by sheer willpower, stand outside and curse the wind and keep our footing. They are forces beyond our strength, and it doesn't matter how stubborn, certain, or courageous we are.
As Christians, we don't have to stand alone through these disasters. I think we forget. We try to prepare ourselves by pushing away our fears and swallowing our grief and being "tough", being "survivors". We do not have to be the strong one. We do not have to stand out and face the storm alone. We must run for shelter if we are to survive.
Christ is our shelter. He will hold us through the storm: either by keeping our heart in his hands, and carrying us through the rubble when it's over, or by taking us home to be with Him, where storms will no longer rage, and there is perfect peace.
We watch the storms approach, knowing we have a haven - knowing we don't have to be strong -
and there is rest there.