Over the past week, the Caribbean islands and the east coast of Georgia have been hit by one of the largest and most dangerous hurricanes in recent history. Hundreds of lives were lost and millions of dollars in property damage were incurred. And, that doesn’t even begin to count the emotional stress by those who had to leave their homes behind and not know what they would find when they returned. The mental toll of uncertainty is worse than the knowledge of the actuality.
When the residents of the coast return home, assess the damage, and begin the clean-up and repairs to their property, the stress and anxiety won’t be so easy to go away. It doesn’t matter whether you evacuated or whether you stayed, there is going to be residual emotions with which you will need to deal.
I almost felt guilty on Friday and Saturday last weekend when I had friends from Tybee and Savannah that were struggling with Hurricane Matthew and not knowing when they could return home, or if you would even have a home to come to. I was out and about here in McDonough eating out and shopping with sunshine and knowing that I had a nice, dry, complete home to return to where I would be safe.
I was encouraged to see social media being used to help each other during those days. Friends were checking on friends, checking on their properties, helping board windows and to cut up trees. I saw friends sharing scriptures and positive thoughts and sayings with each other as this time of worry and stress occurred. On Tybee, several individuals who stayed during the storm, were out videotaping the neighborhoods and businesses to post on Facebook for those who had gone inland. The Mayor of Tybee had flown via helicopter over the entire island to show wider ranges of the island and that, by and large, the island survived. This video, also posted on Facebook, was encouraging to many of the residents to see that they had something to come home to.
We all face storms of life that aren’t always as visible and wide-spread as a hurricane or a tornado. At some point or another, we all face illnesses, losses, family or job changes, financial changes and other impacts upon our lives…. usually with little or no warning. At least we knew Matthew was coming for several days so plans could be made. But, in our lives, the storms very often catch us off-guard and at our most vulnerable points. When they do, how do we face them? Many of us try to deny or ignore what has happened. Others, get angry and often lash out at those around us since there is no tangible “thing” to face.
If you are a believer, our first response should be to turn to God. He does not cause these storms to hit us, but He allows them because we do live in a very imperfect world. He wants us to learn to rely upon Him in the good times and in the bad. We are told in the book of Isaiah;
“Fear not because I have redeemed you and called you by name. You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned nor will the flames scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel.” (Is. 43:2-3)
As humans, storms come and go, but God will always be the one constant in life on whom we can depend. Always. Forever. Won’t you trust in Him when the storms hit? And when all is sunny?
And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy
Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, a musician, a minister and the author of Being God’s and Staying God’s, both available at Amazon.com. Being God’s is also available at Moye’s Pharmacy in McDonough.