September 7, 2017
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; thought its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Psalm 46:1-3
It started out as a beautiful day here in Florida, with abundant sunshine, blue sky and temps in the 80s. Now it’s raining, and I know more is coming. A hurricane is on the way.
I’m tuning in frequently to The Weather Channel this week; last week it was to watch Hurricane Harvey churn over Texas. Now it’s Florida’s turn, with Irma plowing through the Caribbean and making its way here. We still don’t know exactly what path the massive storm will take, but the entire state will feel the effects. Then there’s Hurricane Jose, bringing up the rear.
While we’re not in an evacuation zone, because we’re not near enough to a body of water, many in our city are, as well as millions of other Floridians. We (and my Mom) have hurricane windows and shutters to put up on our lanai. I stocked plenty of water before hurricane season even began. My brother and his family further north are also taking precautions.
But since this is my first experience with a major hurricane since I was a kid living down here (I remember filling the bathtub with water—which I’ll do this time as well—during Hurricane Donna in 1960), I find myself battling a mild panic when I see the long lines for gas (got that ahead of time, too), take in the grocery store shelves empty of water and bread, and hear our governor plead over and over again for residents to take this event seriously. Have we done enough to prepare? Is there something more I should do? Will our windows really protect us?
As if all that isn’t enough to worry me, I’m concerned with how the government will pay for all those who’ve been impacted in Texas, as they mourn the loss of lives and homes and possessions, then shell out for all the damage and destruction that will occur here and possibly in other states up the Eastern seaboard. Then there are the wildfires out west, forcing evacuations for health reasons. Flames are threatening Lake McDonald Lodge, the Swiss chalet style hotel we stayed at several years ago when we visited Glacier National Park in Montana, and park visitors have been evacuated. Washington State’s Mount Rainier National Park and Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park have closed parts of the both parks. As NASA’s website puts it, “The United States is in the middle of an unfortunate spate of natural disasters.” Not to mention the manmade frights here and abroad…
So what do I do when fear and anxiety threaten to consume me? I go to the only place I know where I can find real rescue, never-ending comfort and the strength I don’t have even on my best days. Here’s a sampling of some of my favorite Scripture verses, ones that have reassured, consoled and fortified God’s people down through the ages:
- The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge (2 Samuel 22:2-3)
- Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4)
- Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:5-8)
- God will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day; nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday (Psalm 91:4-6)
- Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast (Psalm 139:7-10)
- The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10)
- As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you (Isaiah 66:13)
Do you need shelter from the physical, emotional and spiritual storms threatening you today? And the ones that certainly will follow? No matter where you find yourself right now, you can always seek out the sure, steady Presence who promises He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).