Friday , August 6 2021

How to pray in a hurricane

My home state, North Carolina, is preparing for destruction this weekend. Home Depot is out of the generators and Harris Teeter's shelves are bare. Inland hotels are booked and flights to the west are full. The hurricane of Florence is coming.

When I was 12, Charley hurricane arrived during our annual beach vacation. I remember the officials with the megaphones who are urging the evacuation, the neighbors nailing the plywood to the battered windows, the exasperation of my father. We watched as the waves went up, thundering on the beach.

"We're not going anywhere," Dad announced. "We'll wait for him." The narrow highways that climbed on safer terrains were blocked by panicked tourists, but we were not among them. We waited, the daughters danced with the shiver of danger, the mother walked in anxious prayer.

But how do you pray in a hurricane?

When you live in an area subject to hurricanes, praying against them may seem like you are praying against snow in Canada. Certainly an omnipotent God can prohibit storms, tame the sea, melt clouds or rotate the earth for a while. But it can also let nature take its course. Christians have a whole book full of miracles, but we know that God does not always do them. For every miracle there is a disaster, every Moses paired with a Katrina. Will Elia be paired with Florence? We pray with a foggy sense of what God is he could make and a scary sense of what God want do. And we wait

We pray with a foggy sense of what God is he could make and a scary sense of what God want do.

And we still pray. Here are three things to remember as we pray together in the middle of this storm.

1. Pray fearfully

It is difficult, the skies become black and the clouds accumulate higher and higher, to deny that we live at the mercy of a great power. Those whose homes perch on stilts on the Outer Banks are perhaps more aware than land-lubbers are, but they too can ignore the storms that hit, for example, the Philippines. Only when the tsunami rises in our neighborhood, we kneel in despair. As the waters rise, do not miss this opportunity to admire the strength that is unveiled for a moment.

As the poet Gerald Manley Hopkins wrote, "The world is full of the greatness of God. It will emanate, as if shining with gold foil." Watch the skies crackle on Carolina this week and glimpse.

2. Pray with compassion and hope

When the epicenter of the storm moves south, do we remain on our knees for our neighbors? Just because your basement is dry does not mean you have to flip the channel. Rejoice with those who rejoice next week that their home or office has been spared, but cry with those who mourn (Rom 12:15). We should be a fast people with a handkerchief, without fear of holding the hand of pain. After all, we have the biggest picture.

"It's Friday", as the old pastor said, "but Sunday is coming." We have a hope that can overcome any storm, no matter how devastating it is. It is not a naive hope, but a cross-shaped one. We have seen the worst and we have seen the resurrection.

Hebrews 6: 18-19 assures us: "We who have fled for refuge have a strong encouragement to keep hope before us. We have this as a still safe and constant soul. "No matter what Florence brings, our anchor will not move.

3. Praying with faith

Is not it interesting that when Jesus faced an apparently unavoidable hurricane, he prayed he would not hit? "And going a little farther on, he fell on his face and prayed, saying," My Father, if possible, let me pass this cup, but not how I will do it, but how will you do it? ; "(Matthew 26:39).

Why should you pray for that release? Of course he knew what would happen. Was he reminding us that God knows our weakness and can we honestly put it before him? Or is it okay to ask for the impossible? Remembered the time when the Red Sea had separated or the time when it had calmed the waves? Nothing is impossible for God, as Jesus, the man-God, was well aware. Yet he prayed with surrender: "Not my will, Father, but yours be done". His faith was not in the miracle, but in the miraculous.

What God does, Jesus says, is always the best, even if it can be dark and terrifying, even though he can tear the roof directly from the house. It is not arbitrary for him, or unexpected, and is always good at the end. Our losses, at least the biggest ones, are important to him now – and fortunately pales in the light of eternity:

So we do not get discouraged. Although our outer self is disappearing, our inner self is renewed from day to day. For this slight momentary affliction we are preparing an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison, since we do not look at the things that are seen but at the things that are not seen. Because the things you see are transitory, but the things you do not see are eternal. (2 Cor 4: 16-18)

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