August 28, 2011

Preparing for the Storm

By Nate LaClaire

Here in Maine, many people spent yesterday preparing for Hurricane Irene, the storm that at one point last week meteorologists were saying could be the worst hurricane to hit Maine in 20 years. Last I heard, it was expected to hit Maine this afternoon as a tropical storm, a downgrade about which we are very happy. If you live in one of the East Coast states, you might have already experienced the worst of this storm and, in that case, you are in my prayers.

All of this storm preparation brought to my mind how ill-prepared so many of us are for the storms of life. I am sure that there are people throughout the region affected by Irene who were fully prepared before the storm appeared in the weather forecast. You might even know someone like that. People might think them weird, but they are ready for a natural disaster or nuclear war. As Dave Ramsey would say, sometimes weird is good. Then there are those other people—I guarantee that you know at least one of them—who don’t even bother to prepare when they hear a major storm forecast. “There’s a ‘largest storm in X years’ forecast every summer and nothing ever comes of it,” they say, “why waste the time, money, and energy preparing?” Nine times out of ten, at least in Maine, they are right, but when they are wrong, it can be fatal. Most of us fall into a third category, though. We might have a basic level of preparedness for major storms (maybe a can or two of something in the cupboard, flashlights with batteries that aren’t completely dead, blankets in the closet and a tray or two of ice in the freezer), but we wait until we hear about an oncoming storm to truly prepare. The day before the storm, supermarkets are swarming with these people who, like me, need drinking water, food, and other supplies. Passersby see them in their yards picking up and tying down things that are likely to fly away in the wind. Gas tanks must be filled, generators purchased and/or tested, and leaky windows plastic-wrapped.

Unfortunately, this is also how many of us prepare for the storms of life. We wait until the brink of disaster before we cry out to God. Overnight, we become model Christians, reading our Bibles, praying, and being “holy.” Maybe when the storm is over, we say that we’re going to “do better,” but it seldom lasts for long. Oh, sure, some of us have made basic preparations. We’ve asked Christ into our lives, read our Bibles at least once a week, and pray before every meal, but that’s pretty much as far as it goes. What we don’t realize (or maybe we do in some cases) is that if we truly invested in God, we would be better prepared for the storms and they would be much less painful. The storms would still come, but we would be ready and they wouldn’t be so frightening.

I need to spend more time with God. I need to spend more time reading and meditating on scripture and praying. I need to give myself more quiet time with the One who created me and gives me life, the only one who knows what tomorrow holds and can get me through it.

How about you? Are you prepared for the storms of life?