Hurricane Irma reminds me of one of my posts called Fear Grips. I discussed my battle with fear and the gripping hold it has on me personally. I have watched the media and caring people around me whip up fear into an all consuming rush of fear while waiting for Irma to arrive.
Since I fall so easily into fear, I’ve been facing my fears lately. In writing this blog over the last 18 months I have discovered one of the biggest wedges between God and myself is fear. In my prayers last night and today I discovered fear not only grips me physically it whips my soul. The scriptures tell us over and over “be not afraid.” God also calls us to trust him and have faith.
Watching the coverage of Hurricane Irma reminds me to put my faith in God. He is my true refuge. I was reminiscing this morning of the approach of Hurricane Frances in 2004. We had already lost power. I sat on my bed with our battery operated TV watching the largest storm I’d ever seen come over our house. The media was whipped into a frenzy of dire warnings. I just remember thinking it was huge like a monster in a B-rated Sci-Fi movie. The estimates I’ve seen on Irma puts this storm at a similar size to Frances.
The differences are Irma is stronger at a Cat 3-5 and Frances was a Cat 2. Irma seems to be skirting coastlines until today. That night Frances was heading straight towards me and my little home. I sat paralyzed in fear looking at that little screen. It had been so long since a full force hurricane had hit so close to home. My Husband tried to get me to turn off the TV and sleep. It was late. I couldn’t do it. I was literally whipped into a frenzy. I could only watch in terror of the storm approaching. Finally he had to take away the TV and a lay down with me. He just held me until I was able to slake off some of the fear and sleep fitfully through a long, dark, hot, and humid night.
This time as we sit in the same home I am peaceful. I don’t want to watch the storm coverage. As long as God blesses us with power I am doing what needs to be done. Praying, laundry, cooking, spending time with my family, and writing.
When I do check the storm coverage I get angry. I see how the words chosen are meant to strike fear in the hearts of the people. I’ve been through a few hurricanes and several tropical storms now, I know the damage they are describing. At this point the words used to describe what has happened so far are sensationalized and vague. Just a couple of hours ago we watched a reporter describe in graphic detail the the downing of a street sign. Really? C’mon!
Hundreds if not thousands of street signs will be down before this is over. A street sign is the least of my worries. Last night, we watched a building burn on video of the damage in St. Thomas. From what I heard, the reporters in that story did not even acknowledge the fire. They droned on about “Devastation” and “Nuclear Storm” but I did not hear a description of what happened in the story unfolding before my eyes.
Not given the true picture and describing things in vague terms fuels the fear. We had officials stating everyone in the State, City, or County needs to evacuate. Hours later I heard some officials stepping back and clarifying that people need to evacuate to a safe place or shelter. Though my personal favorite was someone telling people to “evacuate in place.” Is that an oxymoron or what! Well I did what this person advised…I stayed home!
Fear like this might as well be a physical whip. When watching and listening to storm coverage for Frances, I felt my spirit was beaten. I did not rest well. Which made recovery that much harder. When whipping up a frenzy of fear we are beating the souls of the people of God around us. I am as guilty of this action as anybody. I get afraid and I grab the fear whip and see who I can make fearful along with me. We are all the children of God. Let’s stop whipping each other with the weapon of fear.
How can I do this? I had to think about it…Faith, Hope, and Love. I Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV) says the greatest of these if Love. What about encouragement, empathy, support, and comfort too. And what about the example that follows here – Waiting on the Lord:
I checked on my Moms today, who BTW also “evacuated in place” (big finger quotes), and my Mom said they normally would have left. But this time they waited on guidance from God. God let them both know at the same time to not go. I love what my Mom wrote, “what seems to be right is not always right just because the media says its right.”
The storm is raging outside my window and the power is flickering. I am grateful the storm has mostly missed us. I am praying for those in the path ahead. I know the fear whipping around them. Right now my prayer is:
My dear Holy Spirit.
In the name of Jesus I ask for the comfort for those in the path of Irma. May they see through their fear to You the God Almighty for guidance and protection. Keep them safe and close to you as they face the storm. Do not allow fear to whip them, beat them or defeat them. I pray for your protection of the living beings facing this very real danger. In Jesus Name, Amen. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.
If you feel so led, unite your prayer with mine. Love Milly.
P.S. Youngest Prince has deputized our mascot: “Deputy Fowl.”