3 Things I Learned From A Week Of Hurricane Tracking


Note: this post was written on September 8, 2017 as Florida was bracing itself for Hurricane Irma.

Tuesday was the day it set in for us, the day we first thought Irma might be trouble for us. It seems most residents of Tampa had reached the same conclusion, given the lack of basic items like water, bread and batteries in most stores. We’ve spent a week looking at NOAA images, watching footage as the storm wrecked parts of the Caribbean, and anxiously waiting for the next weather update. We still don’t know how much we will be affected by the storm, but already I’ve begun to consider some lessons this week has taught me. I share them for your consideration…

First, I learned that I have a tendency toward self-centeredness. I don’t think of myself this way (who does?), but this week has certainly exposed this character flaw in myself. I’ve spent so much time focusing on my family’s preparations for the coming storm that I’ve forgotten many others also need help. One of our deacons called on Wednesday to ask if anyone had checked to make sure that our elderly members had supplies. The question hit me like a ton of bricks! I had been worried about my family having enough food and water, but had not considered checking to make sure the members of my spiritual family had the same. It was a humbling moment. And then I began to see how Irma was ravaging the Caribbean and to hear how various saints at University have family members on the islands. I had been praying for the safety of my family, of the University congregation and of Tampa in general, but hadn’t even taken the time to pray for those feeling the full force of the storm. My prayers changed right then! I hope you’ve been better than me this week. I hope you’ve been thinking about, praying for and helping others all week. But if you haven’t, maybe Irma has taught you this lesson too: “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2.4).

Second, I considered that our idea of preparation is very limited. How do you prepare for a hurricane? Perhaps you only bought necessary items like food, water and batteries. Maybe you secured a generator and extra fuel. Or you went even further and boarded up windows and placed sand bags around entry ways to your house. Whatever course of action you took, I hope and pray it was adequate to see you through the storm. But how many of us considered the lesson Jesus taught about preparation in Luke 13.1-3? “Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.’” I’m not anticipating any loss of life in Tampa because of Irma, but Jesus’ words should still have a sobering effect on us all. Tragedy, and this world is filled with it, always beckons for us to consider our relationship with our Lord and to repent if necessary. Have I made that preparation? Have you?

Finally, I learned that God is always faithful. I’ve learned this lesson before Irma’s arrival, before we know if she will miss us completely or hit us with her full force. Doesn’t matter, God is faithful. I’ve learned this lesson because God’s people have always recognized the faithfulness of the Lord, even when they were at their lowest. Perhaps you recently read the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3.19-24, words written as Jeremiah surveyed the ruins of Jerusalem and the decimation of his people.

“Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.”

I know that the Lord is faithful, because He’s always been faithful.


Joshua Creel


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: