Over the last few weeks weather has played havoc on the lives of many people in the United States and several island countries nearby. Two major hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, have hit the coasts and created a lot of damage.
The first hurricane, Harvey, hit land only a few hours from where I live in Texas. Houston, itself, is only about 1 1/2 hours from my place. I had many friends who live in some of the coastal cities and the Houston area that were hit very hard. Several completely lost their homes, others had their homes completely flooded out. It was a very bad storm.
During the last 2-3 days before the hurricane hit, people started running to the stores to purchase food and water. In the days before, till several days after the hurricane, many of the shelves in the store were bare. As fast as the stocker could pull water off a cart and put it on the shelves, the water was snatched up and purchased by someone.
Along with the shelves becoming bare of food and water, there was a run on gas. People quickly ran to the gas station to fill up. This occurred even more, once they heard that the oil refineries were broke down. There was a great fear of a shortage of gas. Gas and food prices started to rise in the fear.
Even now, after a week of Harvey being gone, there are gas stations that shut down nightly because they are out of fuel. People are still lining up at the stations to get gas. Talk is everywhere about the fear of the shortage of gas and prices going higher all the time.
I will not try to spiritualize the hurricane and say that God is judging America. He did not tell me that, so I will not say that either. It may or may not be true. God does use natural disasters to punish a nation. And there is sin in this world, so there are also natural disasters that will take a toll on human life.
What I do want to talk about is being ready without fear. Panic had risen in the hearts and minds of many people. This had caused the people to run to the stores and buy as much as they could, as fast as they could. This was all done out of fear and lack of preparation.
Many people live their Christian lives in the same way. They react to situations in their lives out of fear and lack of preparation.
Some negative situation happens in the life of a person and immediately he runs to God, crying out in fear and desperation for help. He then opens the Bible and scours it for verses of hope dealing with his situation. Prior to this situation, he never prayed, except at an occasional meal, or at church when the pastor asks everyone to bow their heads and pray, and he never opened the Bible, unless the pastor asked him to directly. The Bible sat on a shelf, collecting dust all week, until Sunday.
This is not a picture of someone who is ready. It is not a picture of someone who is prepared for whatever may come his way. It is only one of fear and desperation, just like those running to the stores to get food or gas during and after the hurricane.
2 Timothy 4:2 New International Version (NIV)
2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
Paul had told Timothy to preach the word and be prepared at all times. Although Paul was talking about directly preaching to people the gospel message, it can be seen in preaching the Word of God to situations in your life.
As a believer you must study and know God’s word in your heart and mind at all times.
Psalm 119:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Hiding God’s word in your heart and knowing it all times will keep you from sin. Running in fear is not trusting God. Not trusting God is a sin.
The only way you can know God’s word and have it hidden in your heart is if you spend time in His word. The only way you can know God’s will for your life is if you spend time talking with God about it. And if you talk to God about it, you must listen to what He has to say.
God is a God of peace, not fear and panic. He is always in control of every situation in your life. Whether the situation is of hurricane size, or a bump in the road, God is still there with you. Know this before you hit that situation and you will have His peace and comfort in the storm. Spend time with God and His word, before life gets rough with a bad storm.
Do not place yourself in a position of running in fear to God’s word, drastically searching for some help. Know it before the time of need comes. Then you will be able to confidently go before God with your needs, knowing that He is there and in control. You will be ready for anything and not have any fear.
Today as you think about this, please be praying for those affected by the hurricanes in Texas, Florida and any other states or countries in their path. Pray for their peace, protection, and restoration.