Waiting for Irma, the Uninvited Visitor

 

I’ve lost track of what day it is.  Doesn’t matter anyway. As we watch the hours pass bringing us closer to an unknown none of us ever imagined we’d experience, we continue to complete the last minute preparations. Windows are boarded up and the house has an eerie darkness in the middle of the day. This morning the sun rose, beautiful as always I’m sure, but we didn’t see it.

We’ve been watching Facebook for updates from our favorite weather guy. Each report seems a little more ominous than the last. What’s really strange is to see the posts from friends in other places talking about football and parties and all the activities they are excitedly anticipating for the weekend. It’s surreal to be wondering what will be left in the aftermath of this storm while in the rest of the world it’s “business as usual.”  It gives me a new perspective.  I think back to all the times I was absorbed in my own stuff while so many in other places are suffering. I pray that God will let this be a lesson to me to be more aware of what goes on outside my own little world.  I remember thinking the same thing though, when Randy was in the hospital and I would travel home at night after a long day and see people going about their business with no idea or care for what I was experiencing.  I guess I haven’t learned the lesson yet but I am trying to become less self-centered.  It saddens me to think I can still be so self-absorbed after walking with the Lord for over 40 years.  What have I been doing all that time? Lord, please make me more like Jesus. Help me see the suffering in this world as You see it.

So, if things look so bad, why did we choose to stay?  Why didn’t we just hop in the van and head out of harm’s way?  A couple of things influenced our decision.  For one, the storm was predicted to go much further east than it seems to be heading now. We expected some wind and took the necessary measures to protect against damage. Secondly, there are going to be 15 of us here and that’s a pretty large crowd to try to relocate.  Also, we are in a non-evacuation zone, not subject to storm surge. Being over 60 feet above sea level, we aren’t at risk of major flooding. We might get some localized flooding from overflowing storm sewers but nothing serious. The saying we keep hearing from officials is, ” run from the water, hide from the wind.”  That’s what we’ve decided to do, hide as securely as possible from the roaring wind.  I have to tell you that I am definitely not looking forward to hearing that sound outside for hours though. That was the worst part of the thunderstorms and blizzards in Iowa.  I hated the raging wind and this will be a much bigger deal I’m sure.

Another thing about deciding to stay was the massive evacuation going on all around us.  They have called for mandatory evacuations of the coast as well as all mobile home parks. There are millions of people trying to get out of a state with a limited number of roads heading north. And to get far enough north is a challenge since the storm is headed in that direction.  There is no gas, no hotels, no way to know how far we would get and the idea of getting stranded in a vehicle to ride this thing out is something we had to avoid at all costs.

So, here we stay, hunkered down the best we know how.  Some of our neighbors have left and some have stayed. The older ones, who have lived through this before, seem much more proactive in preparing while the younger folks seem less concerned. It has brought out the best and the worst of humanity already. Seeing folks helping strangers on the one hand and watching people fight over limited supplies on the other. The grocery stores have very little to offer and will all be closing this evening.  We are at the point of no return now. There is no place else to go unless we decide to head to a shelter, many of which are already full of people in much worse circumstances than we are now.

This is when we must decide if we trust God with our lives or we don’t.  Do we truly believe His promise to take care of us and be with us in the midst of the storm? I guess it’s time to take those promises literally.  It’s easy to say we believe those things when we aren’t facing any kind of threat.  Now is when it really counts.

I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him from all his troubles. The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them…  The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help. Psalm 34: 4-7, 15 (HCSB)