Give me a word, Lord: SAFE

Isaiah 14:27 For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

This week has been a doozy. Wait a minute…let me re-phrase that…this YEAR has been a doozy. Here in deep south, we were presented with the threat of not one, but TWO hurricanes coming ashore in the same week. The news teams were stating the possibility of the two storms joining forces and becoming a super hurricane. Fortunately, that did not happen. The first storm, Marco, lost force prior to coming ashore, and he ended up being mostly a rain event. Praise God! Laura didn’t play nice, however. She came ashore just south of Lake Charles, LA as the strongest hurricane in history to hit Louisiana with wind speeds of 150 mph. She wreaked major damage, and continued with hurricane speed winds all the way into Arkansas. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this happening in my lifetime. My heart is aching for the people of western Louisiana and eastern Texas. Fourteen lives were lost, buildings were destroyed, and they are reporting that electricity may not be restored for 2 months. Yep, that old girl did not play nice at all. My heart is anguished for those that were affected by this terrible storm, and I have been praying earnestly for them.

Whenever a hurricane makes landfall, we all have flashbacks of storms that we have been through in our lives. Our parents vividly remember Camille, and they learned the importance of preparing for a hurricane because Camille did a real number on the Mississippi. I was almost three when she arrived, so my memories of Camille are derived from stories I’ve been told and photos that I’ve seen. I don’t really remember the actual storm. But a mean old nasty girl named Katrina showed up 15 years ago, and she taught this generation how to prepare for a hurricane. She was a category 5 in the Gulf, but reduced her wind speeds to a category 3 before making landfall. There was total devastation. 1, 833 lives were lost to that storm, and she caused an estimated 125 billion dollars in damage. We were without electricity for 3 weeks. The destruction was massive. I had never seen anything like it. After that horrendous storm, we don’t play anymore. If the meteorologist says there is a storm in the Gulf, we get busy preparing and praying.

How does one prepare for the storms in life? I can tell you that for a hurricane, we make sure that anything that can be blown away is picked up and put away, bottled water is purchased, canned goods and bread are stocked up, and propane tanks are filled. But does this really offer us the protection we are longing for? No, this is just us trying to keep the clean up manageable and making sure that we can eat after it is all said and done. The best protection from the storm is making sure that we are in a safe place. In 2012, Isaac passed through. He was mostly a rain event, and thankfully didn’t cause much trouble, but my 13 year old son slept on the couch that night rather than upstairs. I awoke the next morning to see his “hurricane preparedness kit” on the coffee table next to him. It was a hymnal, a Bible, a flashlight, and an air soft pistol. I’m not sure how the air soft pistol played a role in his plans, but I think he had the right idea for the rest of his kit. The safest place to be is in the arms of Christ!

The only way that we can prepare, endure and recover from the storms in life is having a relationship with the One that saves us. If we are saved through faith in Christ Jesus, we can endure any storm or challenge that we are facing. We can know and trust that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” and nothing can snatch us out of His hands. We are safe in the hands of Christ. Oh, I’m not saying that the storms will not come. They will come, but together we can face those storms safely in the arms of Christ. Psalm 91:1-2 reminds us “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Christs is our refuge and our fortress. No matter how big your mountain looks today, just remember that our Savior is bigger. No matter how tough the problem seems, remember that our God is the toughest. There is no mountain too high, no ocean too deep, and no problem too big for our God. We can only feel truly safe and secure in the presence of the Almighty. Whatever challenge or storm you are facing today, put on the full armor of God. Pray. Stay in His Word. Talk to Him. Trust Him. You are safe in the arms of Christ!

Please remember our friends in Louisiana and Texas who are just beginning to pick up the pieces after this devastating storm. Pray for God’s strength and mercy and grace. Pray for the families who lost loved ones, the line men trying to restore power, and all of those affected in any way by Laura. They need our help and our prayers right now! Keep praying!

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