A little over one month ago, my community was ravaged with an unprecedented storm.  Tropical Storm Debby dropped over 20 inches of rain in a matter of hours, causing massive flooding and destruction.  Hundreds of homes and vehicles were destroyed and countless people lost everything they owned.  To complicate matters even more, over 100 sinkholes have opened up in Suwannee County alone.  It is being declared as a “500 year event.”  Gratefully, no lives have been lost in our county, save the many livestock and pets that were swept away in the storm.  Even so, it is a disaster that has rattled everyone to their very core.

I am sure many people are asking themselves, “Why?” and “How?”  Personally, I have been asking some of the same questions.  My long-haired miniature Dachshund, Lucy, along with my two pygmy goats, Charlotte and Savannah, were taken by the flood.  I know many others have lost so much more, but still I wonder, “Why?”  Why did God allow my animals to be swept away?  I also wonder, “How?”  Our backyard became a huge lake, something which we do not have on our property.  The water came within inches of flooding my dad’s workshop and our home as well.  Looking at the photographs, I cannot quite comprehend how the water was approximately five feet high toward the back of our property, yet did not make its way into the house.  If the water had flowed level, I am pretty sure this would have been the case.  Still, several friends of mine were not so fortunate and woke up to several feet of water in their homes.  Over a month later, they are still trying to make sense of it all.
In life, there are many things we may never be able to comprehend.  Sometimes, these events will cause us to question our family and friends, question our beliefs, and even question God.  But it is also in these moments when we can often find a rainbow amid the clouds.  For me, the rainbow amid this particular storm is the realization that God caused the water to do something incomprehensible to my mind, thus preventing it from coming in our home.  Losing my pets was devastating, but it could have been so much worse.  Not only could we have personally lost everything, but human lives could have been lost in our county as well.  In life, there will be storms that ravage our communities, our homes, and our lives.  But God always has our back.  He always has a perfect plan and He will bring us through every storm.
I can’t help but think about Noah and how he must have felt, building that Ark.  Everyone laughed at him and thought he was a lunatic for working on such an enormous vessel.  There had been no rain in sight for a very long time, so the idea of an Ark to save his family from a flood was a little farfetched, to say the least.  Yet, he knew what God had called him to do.  I am sure there were times he doubted God and became discouraged, wondering if he should continue.  Then when it was time to gather two of every animal, I am sure it was a monumental task, leading lions, bears, giraffes, elephants, and other animals onto this boat.  Still, he and his family continued to trust God, with every board and every nail and with each and every animal, two by two.  Because of Noah’s faith in God, he and his family were saved, along with each pair of animals God had created.
What about you?  Are you facing a storm in your own life?  Maybe it is not a natural disaster such as a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake.  Perhaps it is an emotional, physical, or financial storm.  You may be going through a divorce or battling depression.  There may be someone in your family fighting for their life in Intensive Care.  Or someone you know could be suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s, cancer, or some other disease.  Whatever you are facing, I want to encourage you right this very moment.  Do not be afraid.  Call on the name that is above every other name: Jesus.  He loves you more than you could ever imagine.  No matter what you are going through, Jesus will calm your fears, He will guide your footsteps, and He will be your Friend that sticks closer than any brother.  Jesus will be your Shelter in the storm.
In Christ's Love,