Beach Lessons,  Hurricane Sally,  Lessons,  Spiritual Growth,  Test,  Trial

More Lessons From Hurricane Sally

I’m till processing and learning from our experience of riding out Hurricane Sally. This is the third, and probably (although I’m not promising) the last post on this.  I’d encourage you to read the first two posts (Part 1: Peace Over the Storms, here  and Part 2: My Cornerstone here) before you start this third post. Sometimes it takes a while to process an experience and see God’s hand in it all. I believe with all my heart God is sovereign and not one thing happens without His permission as well as His purpose. So I’m warning you, this is not a short post since I process God’s lessons partially through writing.

By 6 am the morning of the hurricane, the wind still howled and blew too hard to check on our vehicle below our 16th floor rented condo. When we were finally able to venture out to the back of the condo overlooking the parking lot we had good news and bad news. My husband Pat had moved the truck into a covered shelter (which was not ours) before the hurricane and there was a large piece of roof was laying in the spot the truck had been (brown metal in photo below). We were so grateful he had moved it! BUT there was another piece of roof right behind where the truck was now parked  under cover (green metal).

We weren’t sure we could get the truck out at all. When we felt we could go down (our elevator worked off a generator at that point) without something flying at us in the wind, we knew there was no way we could move the roof. So putting the truck in 4 wheel drive, Pat drove over it while I prayed a tire wouldn’t be punctured. PTL!

Our next decision was whether to stay and wait for power or leave. When would that be? Leave for a day or two and then come back?  Pack up and head home with all our stuff for a month at the beach? People were packing up and leaving quickly. Our bridge was closed at first but then we saw cars going over it. The condo next to us lost a window, while one above us (this was the condo we stayed in when we rode out Hurricane Nate in 2017) also lost windows. The one just above us on east side was destroyed. More reasons to be grateful for safety.

We decided to leave for a couple of days, then maybe come back and finish our planned vacation. Not until we drove out through flooded streets and dodging power lines did we realize the amount of damage. Not being able to turn around and go back at that point, we headed home to return a week later for the rest of our possessions after the power was back on. Just before we arrived, the elevator broke, so we hauled everything down 16 flights of stairs. That’s another whole story for another day! We knew we wouldn’t return since the beaches were closed, boardwalks were missing, restaurants shut down and Gulf residents were ntrying to survive and rebuild.

The Sunday after we came home from the hurricane we watched our church service on line. No surprise that the passage our guest preacher Rob Wilton shared, was  about Jesus, the disciples and the storm on the sea! (Matthew 14:22-33). But the points hit were truth for our experience:

Point 1: The Intention of Jesus (v.22). Jesus “made” the disciples get into boat, knowing a storm was coming. Was there a reason the Lord didn’t force us to evacuate before the storm? What did He want us to learn, besides we will never ride out another hurricane if we can possibly leave? We met our neighbor, who we’d thought was kind of a cranky guy, the morning after the storm. We found out he has heart problems. Now I pray for him and want to reconnect when we return next September! (Unless there’s a tropical storm in the Gulf!) I have a heart for the Gulf residents like never before as I pray for their recovery and their spiritual lives.

Point 2: The Intercession of Jesus (v.23-24). While the disciples were on the stormy sea Jesus was praying for them. In our storms, He knows where we are, the fear we have and He prays for us.

Point 3: The Intervention of Jesus (v.25-27). Although Jesus did not arrive immediately, He showed up on time! He was not late is His plan because He was building both physical and spiritual muscle as they rowed for miles in storm. Their fear was desperate, but when Jesus shows up, He revealed who He was when He said “It is I.” He showed them clearly, all you need is me. Truly I understood that as I prayed through the hurricane.

Point 4: The Inspiration of Jesus (v. 28-33). Peter wants to walk to Jesus on the waves, but when he doubts Jesus’ ability to hold him up, he sinks and Jesus pulls him up. Then they all worship. Pastor Wilton said, “a big belief in Jesus means big trust”. They worshiped Him as they saw Him for who He is. Sufficient, enough, able, merciful, sovereign.

Point 5: The Invitation of Jesus (Matt 28:18-20) We are to make disciples, but to do that we must be a disciple first. As we grow in faith from the Word and experiences of His faithfulness, we have a story to tell that others need to hear.

I will never fully understand all God chooses to do, but I trust HIM. I cry out asking why and yet submit to His plan.  God answered us that predawn morning with protection. Two people lost their lives in the storm. The winds finally died down but not without destruction. Knowing He could’ve stopped the hurricane and chose not to is still a question I have. I begged Him to lower the wind speed. Why did He allow it to increase? I do not know and I may never know.

But as I lay there praying through the night, I knew where we’d be if we didn’t survive the storm. I also wondered how many others had the reassurance that if they died, they’d live forever with Christ?

Although my theme this year has been “Lord, give me a heart for you,” He also has been, and continues, hammering me with being a bolder witness for Him. I have a story to tell!

God doesn’t want me to go back to the way I was before…Hurricane Sally, COVID-19, multiple concerns and crises with friends, family, politics, and culture.

At the end of this sermon the pastor said, “Today’s moment is for tomorrow”. As I continue to process all He wants me to learn, I know without a doubt, this experience was not for nothing. Somehow He wants me to learn more of Who He is and who He wants me to be because of it. And He wants me to boldly share Him with others.

One question I must ask others over and over: “If you died today, would you wake up in the presence of Jesus?” I know I would, do you?

Thank you for reading and allowing me to process this with you. I am still watching for His truths to impact my life as a result of this experience as I continue to learn from Him day by day.

P.S. And I actually wrote a Part 4: I Know I Know! here

Photo by NASA on Unsplash


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