If you have followed my site for a while, you will remember that a few years ago my husband and I got stuck in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria (you know that category 5 hurricane that devastated the island?).
As the days go on, I have noticed so many similarities to what we walked through in Puerto Rico, and what is not going on with the Coronavirus. The storm gained strength quickly. In 24 hours, it turned from a tropical storm to a category 3 hurricane, only to strengthen to the category 5 hurricane that pounded the island. And this Coronavirus situation has quickly escalated over the past week, but more so 4-5 days, and has very quickly changed the way we do life for the unforeseeable future.
Before and after the storm, grocery stores were packed with people getting food to carry them, and people weren’t out because there wasn’t really anywhere to go. Nobody really knew exactly what was going on, and there was a lot of false information going around, and you really had to go to the right sources to get the correct information.
There was also a lot of fear. Sounds a bit familiar to what is going on now huh?
I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. 2 Timothy 2:9
One of my favorite Bible verses is (2 Timothy 2:9) when Paul is in prison. He is writing to Timothy and saying that he is chained like a prisoner, but that God’s word cannot be chained. Other translations say “bound”, or “imprisoned”. And sometimes our circumstances can feel limiting, and the uncertainties can feel binding. But His word isn’t limited by the things that limit us.
I wanted to share with you 3 things that helped us walk through the hurricane with peace, a peace that only comes from knowing Christ, in hopes that you will walk through this uncertain time with a freedom and peace that only come from Him.
Faith over Fear
There was only one thing we could rely on, and that was God. And sometimes all you have is trust in the One who is faithful. Sometimes the things that bring you comfort will be taken away. Through Hurricane Maria, it was electricity, tv, communication, internet, hot showers, etc.
Our comforts look different today. A comfort now could be a routine, gathering with friends, your dreams, sports seasons, school, health. And I am going to classify all of this in one word. Certainty. We can find comfort in certainty, and when uncertainty sets in, fear can quickly follow.
During Hurricane Maria, we didn’t know what each day would bring. We didn’t know when we would get home. We didn’t know when we would be able to tell our friends and family that we were okay. Uncertainty was all around us. However, the thing that comforted me in Puerto Rico was knowing that what was happening didn’t surprise God. He had gone before us. And if He had gone before us, then He had also led the way. He knew the path even if we didn’t see it, and we could trust that He was going to take care of every single detail of getting us home. He began to show His faithfulness even before the storm hit.
The same is true today. Because He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
You can trust in the One who goes before you. You may not have your earthly comforts right now; they may be taken away as quickly as one second changes to the next. But you can always seek shelter under the shadow of His wings. In the uncertainty, His faithfulness is certain.
Make your only option faith. Make keeping your eyes on Jesus your only option. Because that is when He will reach His hand out to you, and pull you out of the water so you can walk on the waves.
Prayer over Panic
2 Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind, but sometimes I don’t have a sound mind. I know how easy it is to fall into anxiousness. Anxiety is not foreign to me. And it is not foreign to a lot of people, because I am hearing about the fear, and the anxiety is so many conversations that I have been having lately. I was talking to someone today who is a teacher and she was saying that the uncertainty was really hard for her. You could hear the anxiousness in her voice.
I know I could have easily fallen into panic mode in Puerto Rico, just like I could easily fall into panic mode now. But panic and fear don’t come from God. However, having a sound mind is a gift from Him. When you begin to fall into fear, and anxiety, turn to Him in prayer. Thank Him for who He is. Thank Him that He is your strong tower, your fortress, the One who has given you a sound mind. Because if He is for you, then who can be against you? You can rest in that.
Kindness over Selfishness
One of the biggest things we saw in the aftermath was how people came together to help one another. Everyone had their own issues, but no one had their own agenda. It was all about each other.
My uncle came over this morning. We had gotten him Lysol and he came to get it. He said that he was at the store the other day, and there were 3 cans of Lysol left, and he grabbed all 3 as 2 older ladies came up. He said to them “I have 3 cans”, and he proceeded to keep one for himself, and handed each of the ladies one as well.
We need to exercise that kind of kindness right now. The kind of generosity that doesn’t keep what other people need. We need to be looking for opportunities to help others, and share what we have. We need to be reaching out and checking in with our friends and family, encouraging the down hearted, and weak. We need to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
One of the churches in Puerto Rico was named The Church Without Walls. That name has always stayed with me, because we need to be showing the world that the church isn’t a building, and the church doesn’t have walls. The church is a people, seeking Christ, and making Him known.
Cling to the truths about who God is, trust in that. Pray when you begin to panic, and be aware of the needs of others, and be ready to show kindness. That is how a broken world is going to see Jesus.