When hope is all you have

“Good morning everyone,” said the TV announcer. “Let me fix it. Today, September 26, 2004, nothing good happened.” In an effort to maintain self-control, we tracked Hurricane Charlie years ago. At first, what was happening outside wasn’t much different from normal Florida storms. But we knew this was no ordinary storm. It was a preamble to a dangerous hurricane.

“Everyone, take a pillow and a blanket,” I said. I mentally calculated what we would need: a flashlight, water and cell phones. Taking a small transistor radio with batteries, we calmed down a bit while trying to settle into our cramped shelter.

As expected, the lights went out and the TV turned off. In the darkness the fury of the hurricane became more audible. When the wind howled, it whined, as if announcing: “I have arrived.” Its sinister nature increased our vulnerability.

Charlie had a vicious and unique nature. He was capricious. At first it looked like it was moving in one direction, but then at the last minute the hurricane changed direction. He had his own insanity as he mercilessly destroyed neighborhoods.

“Quiet!” I ordered, turning up the volume on the transistor radio in my lap. “Listen!” I added demandingly.

Our family huddled together trying to drown out the loud roar outside. We hung on every word that came from the radio, the only device that connected us to the outside world: “He’s heading to Orlando, the winds are incredible here. In the last moments of daylight, the roaring wind could be seen snapping the trees in half like straws. In other areas, trees were uprooted by force, their roots stuck in cement blocks and they were scattered like toys.” Certain disturbances interrupted his description. He then continued, trying to catch his breath, “The huge glass windows of the nearby buildings shook, unsuccessfully trying to resist the raging wind.”

“Lord,” I cried in my mind, “protect our family.”

Then the serenity of my prayers was interrupted by new messages. Outwardly, I seemed calm, but with every sound outside and every detail of the report, I wondered if God really heard. I doubted He would answer before the worst happened. I doubted if my words were appropriate enough to reach Him. And I was sure my emotions were getting in the way of my prayers to Him. The more I tried, the stronger the hurricane of doubt raged in my heart.

“Now the road is in complete darkness,” said the reporter. “Even some of the traffic lights are gone.”

Without air conditioning, our cozy corner became a small oven. But safety was more important than comfort. Charlie’s anger grew stronger and stronger. A strong wind blew with an occasional roar that shook our garage door. The shrapnels flew through our front door and back door and through the large windows and created the same sensation as the bombs. We knew he was going to attack, but we didn’t know exactly when and we didn’t know which window would break or which part of the roof would fly off.

Nobody said a word. But suddenly I heard a strange sound.

“What was that?” I asked.

“This is my yogurt cup,” said mom with her usual calmness. “This is my bedtime snack,” she added as if in passing.

How can she eat at such a time? Does she not understand the danger we are in?

“My hope is in the Lord,” she said. “He protects us. Do you think this hurricane surprised Him? He is always faithful. Hope in Him is all we have.”

I had heard the same words from the pulpit. They gave a gentle sense of reassurance.

But now my mind was drawing pictures of us under the rubble.

The noise outside fueled my imagination. We heard the knocking and rumbling again. I changed my “please” to “Lord, I know that You are in control of everything. I am sure that You will carry us to the end. And I know that You will calm this storm both inside and outside of my heart.” But there was still doubt in my words.

Charlie’s furious winds blew with increased force in some areas, tearing roofs off and roaring winds overturned traffic lights, smashing them to the ground. Several deaths were reported.

“Looks like Charlie is now in downtown Orlando,” the radio reporter announced. We all paused to make sure we got the good news right and then it was confirmed. Charlie moved north; eventually he passed us.

God really showed up on time and quickly.

We breathed a sigh of relief. I said to myself: “Thank you.”

We left our stuffy room and headed outside, looking in disbelief at the mess and debris from tree branches to trash can lids.

As we all gasped at the devastation, a deep yawn escaped my mother’s lips and she tossed her empty yogurt cup into the trash.

“There was no need to worry then and there is no need to worry now. Everything is under God’s control. Good night everyone,” she said.

“Our soul trusts in the Lord: He is our help and protection; our hearts rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name” (Ps 33:20-21). God was working in me—teaching me to trust Him in the midst of the winds of fear. Taught me how to feel safe when I hear threatening sounds and how to feel safe while listening to bad news that discourages or warns of destruction.

With renewed faith, gratitude dispelled the last dark storm clouds and gave new meaning. My hope was in God, not in circumstances or on those around me.

The next morning’s sun lit up the radiance of God’s promises that He would answer our prayers quickly and immediately. His faithfulness becomes visible not so much in the peace of my life, but during the storms and emotional hurricanes that test my faith.

We pray

Father, as we face all the storms that threaten our lives, we lean on Your promises that You will never leave us. But You will surely cover us with Your love and protection. In Jesus’ name we thank You. Amen.

What is testing your faith right now?

Source: Когда надежда – это всё, что у тебя есть – 30 Сентября 2022 – ИЗЛИЯНИЕ.ru (outpouring.ru)

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