Some of you are like me and paying special attention to the news and weather. You are watching all the details about Hurricane Florence, her path, arrival times, estimated rainfall, etc. It is easy to look at a storm like Florence and wonder where God is. Why would he allow such catastrophic damage to happen?
Let me share a word of encouragement from the book of Acts. In chapter 27, Paul was a prisoner on a journey to Rome. He had to travel by sea and on that trip, he and the crew experienced a 14 day storm at sea. They were sick, water-logged and in desperation. They all feared for their lives. If anyone deserved a comfortable trip, it was the Apostle Paul. Yet, Paul faced the danger and discomfort of the storm just like everyone else. No matter what happens in the coming days around us or on the coast of our country, God is in control.
Remember this, God does not promise us a comfortable journey, but he does promise that he will never leave us. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that God has abandoned us. Storms (literal and figurative) occur in our lives because we exist in a fallen world where sin abounds. Paul affirmed in Romans 8:20-22, that creation itself is longing for redemption when the curse of sin will be lifted. Until then, we will experience storms and hurricanes. But we don’t face these days or these challenges alone. In the Acts account of the storm and eventual shipwreck, Paul and the crew suffered mightily. They faced hunger, sea sickness, lack of sleep, pain, worry, fear and the possibility of death. Yet, Paul was not alone; they were not alone. God was with them, and we can know that God is with us.
Paul had God’s peace. An angel appeared to him informing him that all would be saved. Paul used his peace to inspire courage in his shipmates. He invited them to eat a meal, blessed it in front of them and told them they would survive. God used Paul’s peace, wisdom and courage to instill courage in others. He can do the same through us today.
You should pray for protection and peace in the middle of this storm. Just before writing this, I took some moments to pray for family and friends that are likely to experience the storm more directly than we will. I prayed for their safety and peace. I even prayed that the hurricane would move away from as many people as possible. You say, “That’s a futile prayer.” No, even if the predictors are correct and the storm doesn’t move, the prayer is not futile. It is not futile because God can move the storm, he can calm the storm, he will give peace in the middle of the storm, and I know that we have his presence in the storm. We can pray boldly and expectantly because God promises that he will never leave us.