A few years ago, when I got started blogging, I wrote a piece about preparing for a hurricane that was coming our way on Maui, and how important spiritual preparedness is, in addition to physical preparedness. But spiritual preparedness isn’t as important as growing in our faith, and developing spiritual endurance.
The other night, here in the Bible belt where we now reside, we had a tornado warning. At 1 AM, my husband’s new phone blared with a sort of warning noise, that I doubted he’d set as a standard notification noise, so I got up and checked it. The little notification “WARNING: Tornado warning now in effect. Take shelter now” sent my heart into my throat and made my mouth go dry.
This West Coast native, former island resident had absolutely no idea how to respond to a tornado.
I’ve seen the destruction tornados can do on the news, and we even visited some friends in Joplin, MO earlier this year and drove through an area full of brand-new houses that had been rebuilt after the devastating tornado that plowed right through this city in 2011. Right there, in what was once the path of this ferocious force of nature, I gravely tried to imagine what it would have been like to see that twister narrowing in on everything you had, with absolutely no way to stop it and most likely little way to take shelter from it.
Not long after my husband’s phone went off that night, the local sirens started going off too. It had been storming for some time, with frequent lightning and thunder, so this just added to the drama of the situation. We live in the Ozarks, so while tornadoes are a real possibility, they’re not common, and it honestly just wasn’t something I had prepared for, and I simply had no idea what to do.
Since we moved here to the Bible belt, away from tsunami, volcano, and earthquake territory, away from liberal policies that prevent us from being able to defend ourselves, and away from communities full of spiritual darkness and wickedness, I admit I had let my guard down a bit. I have been growing spiritually here and benefitting greatly from fruitful fellowship and a supportive community for our little homeschool family, and for the first time in my life I have been able to enjoy my 2nd Amendment rights, so I guess I simply forgot to think about tornadoes, of all things.
I fretted that we didn’t have a storm shelter, that I didn’t know what to do; that our windows weren’t boarded up and I didn’t know how much clean drinking water we had in the house. I kicked myself thinking, “why didn’t you prepare for this??”
The thing is, however, that preparedness isn’t actually everything.
As I lay there in the dark, wondering if my house was about to be blown away like Dorthea’s (or something more realistic, and worse), it occurred to me that preparing yourself for the storm isn’t as important as lasting through it.
It occurred to me that at this moment, God probably wanted me to learn to brace myself and push through anything He plans on throwing my way, from a tornado, to trials in my family, marriage, personal life, finances, job, and health, to global catastrophic events, and the Great Tribulation.
I will never fully prepare myself to prevent any of these things from happening, the point is always to remain focused on Him, even as we walk into the face of death.
Many of us are facing storms now and there are many more to come. But He has brought us this far and He will continue to carry us through. And I knew that night that no matter what happened, that I belonged to Him and He would always be on the other end of that storm.
Because that’s how God always works. He’s constantly refining us and sending us through situations that are ultimately for our good and His glory, and The End will be like this too. The only thing we need to save us is the faith, trust, and blessed hope that at the other end of the massive storm of Tribulation will be His Kingdom, and that will be the ultimate glory of all.
We just need to endure in our faith long enough to get there.
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
Job 13:15 KJV
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Matthew 24:13 KJV