As we on the East Coast gear up for what could possibly be the storm of the century I've had some time to do a bit of reflecting as well as preparing for the worst case scenario and the unknown. Our Bishop (congregational ecclesiastical leader) reminded us all today at the end of our worship service to watch over one another, pray for those who will be in harm's way and to remember to 'fear not.'
There are some obvious parallels between preparations for a real, physical storm and those preparations made against the emotional, spiritual and temporal storms that we face in this life. But we've been counseled time and again in our church that 'if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.' And while so many around us have shifted into panic mode we can take comfort in those words, no matter what kind of storm is headed our way.
I've got a ton of batteries and flashlights perched in various places throughout the house, my candles and matches are also strategically poised in case of power outages. There are stacks of bottled water and closets full of canned food. The storm windows are on, the car is full of gas (and parked as far away from a tree as possible, in this neighborhood that equals about 4 feet!) and I have plenty of books and goodies to sustain me through at least the guaranteed day off tomorrow. But how does one prepare for storms of non-Biblical proportions? Interestingly enough, the Bible has the answers to that!
A strong character is a good starting point; honest, hard-working, full of faith, selfless. These qualities can go a long way to providing you with a foundation of preparation. In my own life I've found that trying to imitate Jesus Christ and trusting in His teachings and promises can make up any deficiencies in my own life, human character and preparation.
A couple of my favorite scripture verses echo these sentiments.
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that e must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
Therefore whosoever hearth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house: and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
And finally, along the same lines and offering some great counsel and reassurance, one of my favorite hymns:
How firm is your foundation? Are you prepared? Have you reason to fear?