These folks are on the lookout for potential hazards. Dead limbs that normally hang precariously over driveways are cut away and stacked by the curb in plenty of time for the trash truck to collect the debris. Among those who have been preparing, even to the point of watching the same weather reports, there is a mindfulness of where the storm hits. Concern for the welfare of victims of the storm surfaces, and people lend a hand. Men whose jobs are temporarily closed haul boats to flooded areas to rescue strangers from perils the storm has provoked. Neighbors living in upstairs apartments help lower tenants store precious belongings in the higher ground of their homes. Drivers of big trucks navigate through stretches of flooded roadways, hauling supplies and people who have been stranded. Thankfulness abounds. People whose homes have remained unaffected open their doors, keep pets, they cook food, gather supplies, and share with the hurting. They collect donations, give money, and spread cheer to nearby shelters. And they gain a fresh appreciation for the things often taken for granted. Life. A home. Safety. Electricity. And the joy of having family and friends.
There are similarities to spiritual storms. These storms are predicted. From His superior height, God has sent a signal foretelling that tough times are approaching. Scripture announces the pending trouble. Tuned in to the same frequency, those who heed the warning rally around one another. They prepare, storing up faith and the word with mindfulness and prayer. The forecast is on their lips as they plan for what is to come--possible days of darkness, discomfort, and pain. They reach out, strengthening bonds of fellowship that extend beyond pews and pulpits to included strangers. After all, they will be sharing these same troublesome events that hover on the horizon of time. Unity against the common enemy builds camaraderie, and when the storm hits and trouble that has been clearly spelled out affects those around her, those who have prepared, the Church, share the burdens of the unfortunate.
Friendship is offered, support is extended, lines of separation are erased, and genuine love for fellowman abounds. Demonstrated through compassion, that love is sustaining. Comforting. Fueling resistance that enables recovery for an otherwise crushing blow. It reaches out with words and silence, with doing and being. The Church simply is, but her strong arms beneath the brokenness is a touch forever felt.
The Church can be this way because she’s been broken and hurting, feeling the full onslaught of enemy attack…but for the grace of God, she still would be. Like many in the South, she’s weathered some storms of her own, and she knows the devastation of being victimized by the enemy. She’s the Church, and she’s comprised of those who have taken a direct hit before and who have benefited from the hope extended to them in their hour need. She’s been on the other side of the storm and felt the healing hand of assistance. Because of her own redemption, she is eager to roll up her sleeves to do whatever needs doing in order to bring full recovery where the enemy has wreaked havoc on someone else. See, the Church has also received another Heavenly forecast. The storm is not the only thing in the predicted future. Ahead are brighter days, days of eternal sunlight and Heavenly joy, and she’s preparing for those as well.
Tip/Tidbit: Are you preparing for the storms and joys God has said we will encounter?