Had we known earlier what was going to happen, our plans would have changed. We would have been prepared for the situation and not required as extensive a clean-up.
It was overcast and windy when we headed out in the morning to do some shopping in the city. Rain was in the forecast for early afternoon. This had been predicted for days and not materialized, so I gave it little thought.
We barely entered a store when a deafening noise overhead caused us to look outside. An intense tropical storm held us and many others captive.
Driving home an hour later was an adventure. We navigated through puddles the size of small ponds. The storm was obviously more intense than we’d realized.
Little did we know what still awaited us. We returned to find the strong wind had forced rain through the tracks on the window and the sliding patio door. Our tile floor had streams of water flowing under and around furniture through the living room, kitchen and eating area.
If we had known the storm was coming, we would have stayed home and been prepared to deal with the water as it started to enter. Since that wasn’t the case, we had to deal with the aftermath.
The situation brought to mind a parable Jesus told when asked about the timing of the Lord’s return. Since I don’t know the day or hour when Jesus will return, I need to ensure I’m ready. To do so I have confessed my sins, asked forgiveness, and entered into a close and personal relationship with Jesus, my Lord and Saviour. The preparations are made. I am ready.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know what day your Lord will come. If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have been alert and would not have let his house be broken into. So you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:42-44 NIV)
The high winds we had been experiencing were unusual. It’s often breezy where I live, but gusts up to 100 kilometres per hour were definitely out of the ordinary.
One day a north wind blew in cold arctic air. Another, a Chinook wind blew in mild temperatures. Either way, it caused problems and was the topic of many conversations. The roar as it buffeted the house was enough to make me wonder if we’d be blown away.
The wind warnings had finally subsided when I heard someone on the radio talking about an experience from his childhood. I’m not sure where he grew up but he told of wind so powerful that it picked up the trampoline from the backyard and sent it over the top of the house where it came crashing down in the front yard. Needless to say, the trampoline was totally destroyed. From then on, his dad always made sure everything was well anchored.
Although the picture of a trampoline being tossed over a house was vivid, the term well anchored was what stuck in my mind. The storms of life have a way of tossing me around and then causing serious damage when I come crashing down. To stay safe I need to be well anchored in the Lord. Prayer and reading the Bible are the lifelines that keep me firmly connected to God.
There is no need to doubt I will be protected because I fully believe in His promise to care for me.
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6 NIV)
I was drawn to the lighthouses we saw on our travels. From the shores of the Great Lakes in Ontario to the coastline of the Maritime Provinces, every lighthouse was photo worthy.
There was something about these structures that captured my imagination. Most were operational but I also wanted to stop and admire ones that were purely for decoration.
The distinct tower shape, topped by a lantern area at the top is easily recognized as something to help ships navigate safely through treacherous waters.
The symbolism in this runs deep. To many, lighthouses are seen as showing us how to navigate through the rough waters of life. They speak of safety and security in the face of adversity and challenge.
Maybe that is why I was drawn to them. Even the well-weathered structures with peeling paint held an attraction.
They reminded me that, no matter my age, I have the ability to make a positive impact. A lighthouse doesn’t rush around, attempting to save people. It stands still and shines a beacon of light to illuminate the darkness. That is its great power.
Jesus is my personal lighthouse. He keeps me safe and secure no matter what storms challenge my life. I never have to walk in darkness when I can look to Him to guide me. His light fills me and equips me to reflect that to those around me. In that way, I can be a beacon that points people to Him.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV)
A change in weather during our tropical vacation forced us indoors.
The wind lashed the rain against our windows. It didn’t take long for the deluge to fill the tracks and overflow, forming pools on the tile floor. The water was noticed before it spread far enough to do damage. We mopped up and kept an eye on the offending area.
After the storm subsided, no evidence of the excess moisture remained. We were lucky this time.
It would have been easy to put this behind us and forget it ever happened. However, someone will need to take care of the necessary maintenance to the window track. If not, the problem will reoccur. Maybe not this week, or even this month, but the consequences could be worse next time.
Regular maintenance is also necessary for our lives. Storms lie ahead for each of us. We don’t know when, or how hard they may hit. The better I prepare myself in the good times, the less damage there will when the tempests of life strike.
The ability to survive the tough times is gained through my relationship with God. Spending time in prayer and reading the Bible enables me to build a shelter I can trust. God has promised to keep me safe in the trials of life. When I walk closely with Him, I know any storm damage will be lessened.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2 LT)
Sunshine and warmth embraced us and a gentle breeze kissed our cheeks. Wispy white clouds stretched liked cotton candy in the sky. Near the horizon we could see a fishing boat bobbing as sea birds circled, hoping for an easy meal. It was a perfect start to our morning. I sent up a silent prayer, thanking God for the blessing of this day.
A few hours later clouds started rolling in. We noticed the wind getting stronger. Soon dark grey clouds filled the sky. A storm was on its way.
During the afternoon the howling of the wind drowned out the once peaceful sound of the surf. Waves crashed and thundered to shore, topped with foaming white caps that rose ever higher. Wind lashed the rain onto our windows. Our view became obstructed.
We stayed inside to wait out the storm. With the sun tucked away behind storm clouds, darkness came early. Our power was disrupted and we relied on flickering candle light to see across the room.
When the day started we had no idea of the changes we’d face before nightfall. Such is the way of life.
Challenges appear and hit like a gale force wind. There may be little or no warning. The bright sunshine of promise gets blown away. As though in flickering candlelight I can only see far enough to put one foot in front of the other.
This is when I trust on the power supply that never fails. The power of Jesus in my life will guide me safely through the darkest storm. When I lean into him I am given the strength to take the next step. I don’t know how long it may take to reach the sunshine again but I do know that Jesus will help me navigate the darkness when I walk in his light.
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12 NLT)
The area in which we live has been rocked by several severe thunder storms in recent weeks. The storms were much more than thunder and lightning. They were ones with large hailstones crashing violently into everything in their path. These storms have caused tremendous damage.
Until the last storm, we had never suffered enough damage to make an insurance claim. Although our house only had minor damage, our vehicles did not fare as well. Both of them were covered with dents after being pelted with golf ball sized hailstones. Hours after the storm had passed, many of these large chunks of ice remained on our property.
My husband and I were both indoors when the storm hit so suffered no injuries. The things that were damaged would be covered by our insurance. Our only cost would be the deductibles.
Thinking about insurance coverage reminded me of the insurance that Jesus provides for me. After one of life’s storms, He is always there to help me pick up the shattered pieces of my life. He does so tenderly, while guiding me to safety. There is no deductible here. I am fully covered by his grace and love. All I need to do is reach out and trust in him.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my Savior, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the strength of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2 GWT
In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Psalm 118:5-6 NLT