I didn’t live through Hurricane Katrina, but Brad did. He called me from Picayune just before Katrina’s flouncing skirts and thundering, twisting, spinning fingers began engulfing Mississippi. Then the line was dead and I didn’t hear from him for five days. All I could see was the flooding, the wreckage, the ruin. Rumors of chaos and lack of supplies came through the news sources.
I got ready to drive from Athens, GA to Mississippi to find my fiancé. I emailed a long list of friends telling asking them to pray and I searched the pop up social media sites for any clues about Pearl River County and it’s inhabitants. Facebook was non-existent then and though the communication was effective for some, I couldn’t find any news about my person. My friends responded quickly and unanimously telling me not to go, to pray and to trust God’s hand in this. Soon afterward, contraflow traffic on I-59 backed up their admonitions and I had to sit tight 500 miles from the man I was scheduled to marry in less than three weeks. Their responses were so touching and uplifting that I printed them to save as a testament of human caring and God’s love.
So, I didn’t live through Katrina, but these storms, like the one brewing now in the Gulf, are still scary to me. Tornadoes point their long thin cones down to earth and kill people just like that. No one is promised absolute safety. The ones who do get swooped up or crushed are blindsided by it because we can prepare and plan and do whatever we feel is best, but we can’t stop the storm from coming.
A person can really terrify themselves thinking about it. Will it hurt? Will my child be mangled? Will I lose my house? Will there be some horrible moment when I have to grab one small hand and let another go? Our bodies respond to our thoughts dilating our pupils, causing soles and feet to go numb, increasing our heart rate.
But then we can change our thoughts and think about this: Jesus.
Jesus is always there. Is it still scary? Yes because people who love Jesus still die sometimes. People who love Jesus go through nature’s most scary and horrible storms. But He is still God; He is still there. And when the storm radar is red and covering all of our piece of the world, He still says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” And like Esther, facing the worst storm of her life, an encounter in which she could not know the outcome, we willingfully place our trust in God and say, “If I perish, I perish.”
So every time this happens—this hurricane whether, these seasons and storms I can’t control—I lay in my bed thinking about where I will hide my children if I have to. I want to prevent them from being blasted by glass, from being sucked out of the house if the roof blows off, from being crushed if the walls collapse inward.
I can’t predict these things, so I have to say, “I trust you God.
I’m scared but I trust you.
I don’t know what will happen, but I trust you.”