Like hundreds of thousands of others, we spent much of the weekend waiting for and watching the progress of Hurricane Irma.
We’re safe in Iowa, but we have many friends in Fort Myers and other parts of Florida, and we’re concerned about our winter home there.
I think the waiting may be the worst part. Some people who hunkered down with family and friends made it a party, of sorts. Others were in shelters with a few hundred of their close, personal friends–but at least they were out of harm’s way, hopefully.
Meanwhile, we found ourselves glued to the computer and/or TV coverage–more than we wanted to be. But being a couple thousand miles away, that was the only way we could stay informed. Would our place be damaged by wind or flooded? Should we be planning a trip down there as soon as it’s safe, to assess damage and see what we can save?
We keep reminding ourselves that our property is just “stuff.” We’re more concerned about our friends who were unable to evacuate, and we’re praying for them!
The latest information, on Sunday night as I write this, is that the winds were less than forecast (but still up to 100mph-plus), and the storm surge may not be as severe as earlier expected. Still, a potential three to six feet of water, if it reaches where we are located, will mean massive damage.
And yet, the verse that comes to mind is one that was mentioned this morning in worship:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (James 1:2-3, ESV).
I’m not saying that I am joyful for Irma. I pray that, no matter whether my prayers are answered or not, my faith will remain strong. But I find it interesting that later in the same chapter, the author says:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind (James 1: 5-6, ESV).
I don’t want to be one who is tossed by the wind like a wave of the sea. Whether Irma’s waves directly affect us or not, I will trust in God and His provisions. And I will continue to pray for Florida, for Texas, for the states out west that are burning, and for the hearts of people all over the U.S. (and the world) to turn to the One who holds us all in His hands.