Psalm 46:2-3 (New International Version)
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
“Good morning everyone." Began the TV announcer. "Let me correct that. There is nothing "good" about this morning of September 26, 2004."
He was right. That was the day we encountered, once again, an unwelcome visit from another member of the destructive and malicious gang: Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. They engaged in a vicious game of outdoing each other in merciless destruction that dreadful summer.
At first, the action outside was not much different than the usual storms in Florida. But we knew this was no ordinary storm. It was a preamble of a destructive hurricane named Charley.
As we all hunkered down in the safest place in the house Charley slowly moved our direction.
As we sat there I made a mental note of the supplies we would need: flashlights, water and our cell phones. Grabbing the small transistor radio with fresh batteries we sat around on the floor and played some board games.
As expected, the lights went out. The TV was silenced. In the dark, the rage of the hurricane became more audible. The wind howled and whistled as if to announce, “I’ve arrived.” Its ominous nature intensified our vulnerability.
Charley had a vicious and unique personality. It was capricious. First giving the impression it was headed in one direction and at the last minute changing directions, it had its own raging madness as it ripped through neighborhoods merciless.ly.
As we sat there we turned the volume up on the radio as we got updates from the Z 88.3.
Our family huddled attempting to tune out the loud roaring outside. We hung on each word coming from the only device connecting us to the outside world. “It’s headed for Orlando; the winds here are unbelievable. With the last moments of daylight, we can see the roaring winds snapping trees in half like pretzel sticks. In other areas, it’s been reported that trees have been yanked with force, their roots entangled in blocks of cement tossed aside like toys
More reports followed: “Now the road is in total darkness. Traffic lights are gone, with those remaining not working,” announced another brave reporter standing outside to give us the detailed recount of Charley's fury.
Without air-conditioning, our cozy area turned into a small oven. But safety tossed out comfort as Charley’s rage grew closer. The strong winds thrust sporadic bangs, rattling our garage door. We knew it would strike, but didn’t know exactly when, nor did we know which window would burst or what part of the roof would yank away first.
As we sat in the heat and the dark I “My hope is in the Lord. He will protect us. The thought came to me “Do you think this hurricane is catching Him by surprise? Of course not, He is always faithful.”
Charley’s furious winds struck with more intensity in some areas, yanking off roofs like box tops. The roaring winds hurled traffic lights, smashing them to the ground. Some fatalities were reported.
As we listened to the “Z” they said “The tracking shows Charley is now in Orlando’s downtown area.”
We finally heard the news that Charley had moved north; it finally passed us. And although fatigued with anxiety, we breathed a sigh of relief.
As we look back at the summer of 2004 and the way God protected us we learned when storms rattle the doors of our heart, His grace is still at work, His truth still prevails and His hand is active. And even when those emotional hurricanes file through, God’s protection silences the winds of fear.
Dear Lord we thank you for the protection you granted back in 2004, and now we pray as we enter as new hurricane season that you would protect each and every one of us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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