In his popular and inspiring book “The Noticer,” Andy Andrews has his angelic character tell the story of storms and our place in them. He reckons that, whether we know it or not, we are all in one of three positions. We are all either coming out of a storm, in the middle of a storm, or getting ready for a storm. Seems to me that getting ready for a storm has created a storm of its own. Preparation has given way to panic. Gas, batteries, and propane are in short supply. Police are keeping order over bottled water at Publix. Not Walmart folks, but the Publix on 4th and 37th (if things go rogue at Earth Fare and Trader Joe’s, we will know we are in crisis mode)!
As I write this, the images of Harvey are rightly in our heads as we stare down Irma – or as she stares down on us. It is impossible to know what lies ahead, so we pray for the best and prepare for the worst. We cancelled Wednesday activities this week to allow families time to prepare and protect, and make decisions about evacuation. We have just made the determination that Sunday services will be cancelled. There is just too much uncertainty about what may happen, and our attention and energies must be focussed on protection and preparation.
As your pastor, let me encourage you in these days to do a few things. Be careful. And be prayerful. These two postures will go a long way. Try to remain calm and not borrow trouble that is not yet here. At the same time, be diligent and informed about the risks at hand and respond appropriately. And be ready when this is over to be part of a long-term rebuild. We pray we will be spared the worst of it. But we know some places will not be. And we will be ready to respond as best we can.
For today, take care of yourself and your family. Leave if you can and need to. Hunker down if you cannot. And know that the one who rules the winds and water will stand by you. As will His people.