12 September 2008

If you worry, why pray?

You might have heard: There is a storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico called Ike that is predicted to cause all kinds of damage, peril and havoc on the state of Texas - primarily the areas of Galveston, Houston and surrounding areas. I have a particular interest in the storm since my father and stepmother call Houston home and according to a phone call I had with my father this morning, they are staying put and riding out the storm as it blows through.

After talking with my father at length, I am confident that he knows what he is doing in making this decision. He is a meteorologist by profession, so he knows a lot more about storm surge and winds and trajectory than I could ever try to begin to explain, but he seems confident that while the next few hours will be "interesting" - he is safe in the palm of God's Hands and will be ok. They will be hunkering down in an upstairs bedroom that has very few windows and access to an in-suite bathroom. They have candles and flashlights, water and food - so he has done all that he needs to do in order to be properly prepared. According to him, the winds and rains should begin picking up for them around 2:00 or 3:00 this afternoon (Central Time), so if you can remember, please send up a prayer of protection for him, Linda, and their neighbors who have also decided to ride it out. As my dad is able (barring loss of cell phone service, electricity, etc.), he promises to keep in touch with me and let me know how it is going for them. For anyone interested, I will pass the information along as I hear it.

I also called and spoke with a friend of mine who is a reporter for the Houston Chronicle and who lives in Galveston. He was still in Galveston when I spoke to him, but had boarded up the house and was closing all the storm windows before driving to League City where he would be hunkering down with the rest of the media staying behind to cover the story.

All of this makes me grateful for the morning devotion I had this morning about "worrying". In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus is talking to his disciples when He tells them that they (and we) can have freedom from worry if we just trust in God. He reminds them that God takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers in the field - won't He surely take care of them? Of us? Verse 27 asks, "Who of you, by worrying, can add a single hour to his life?" None of us can. Reminds me of a plaque I once gave a friend that said, "If you worry, why pray? If you pray, why worry?"

I am not naive. I know the dangers inherent in the storm. Hurricanes are nothing to play around with. We all learned that lesson with Katrina three years ago. But I also know there is NOTHING I can do by worrying that is going to change whatever the outcome of this storm will be. My worrying while sitting at my desk in Atlanta GA is not going to change the path of the storm; it won't lessen the intensity of the winds or rains; it won't stop the surge of the tide...it won't do anything but cause stress in my shoulders, give me a headache and exhibit a lack of faith. However, sending up a prayer, putting it in the Hands of the Man who calms the waters (remember that song?)...I can do that. I can then sit back and trust that His will shall be done - for my father and stepmother and all the others in the area that will be impacted by this storm. And I mean that - no matter the outcome. If it is God's will that I have spoken to my father for the last time, we both said "I love you" before we hung up the phone and I have to trust that we will meet again one day on heaven's shores.

Thank you in advance for all your concern, thoughts and prayers. It's all up to God now. Be blessed.

PRAYER REQUESTS: Pray for my friends from the Houston area: Scott and Linda Nagle and family; Robert Stanton (reporter for the Houston Chronicle); Shibbon Mitchell and family. Also for Sean Ritchie, who may have to travel to the area after the storm to help with rebuilding - and for his family that will remain here in Atlanta.

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