Today we are watching news reports from the National Hurricane Center as Florence ravages the coast of the Carolinas. Some people who live in areas with mandatory evacuation orders decide to stay. I don’t think I could do that but leaving home must be terribly difficult.
Last year on a cool, windy September day awaiting Hurricane Irma’s impact, I cherished a few pre-rain moments on my deck. Like so many, my husband and I watched weather predictions and prayed for those in the storm’s angry path.
A cousin who evacuated from a coastal city stopped for lunch as she traveled to avoid Irma’s wrath. I was not only blessed to share food and company with her but enjoyed the cat she had adopted after our beloved cousin’s death.
When Carole started to leave, we couldn’t find the gorgeous Siamese anywhere until I peeked into my bedroom and found her fast asleep, encircled by her sleek brown tail, and curled up on my pillow. Perhaps she felt comfort after a tense departure from home and endless meowing on her journey to my house.
I now know how to pray more specifically for evacuees as our visit opened my eyes to the trauma of selecting items to take, leaving home behind, and seeking shelter.
Preparing for a physical storm or one of life’s trials is difficult at best. And we don’t always have advance warning. Neither meteorologists nor our best friends know what is just around our “corners.” Praying and reading the Bible is the best way to prepare our hearts and minds for each day.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
–Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
When people we know experience painful or fear-producing situations, we want to help. Although each family and its circumstance are unique, there are preparatory steps we can take to help us minister to those who are enduring life’s “storms.”
As we consider hurricane preparedness, let’s equip ourselves to be a blessing to others in their trials.
Preparing to Help Friends in the “Storms” of Life
Watch the news and heed advice.
Pay attention to prayer requests and be sensitive to the needs of others. Keep a list and pray diligently for them. Be sensitive to God’s leading about when and how to help.
- Prepare two crockpot meals, roasts or casseroles and freeze one. Add a salad and vegetable when someone needs a home-cooked meal.
- When there’s no time for cooking, a restaurant or deli meal served with love will be appreciated just as much. Partner with friends. (My neighbor and I collaborate to prepare meals to meet needs in the neighborhood.)
- Keep a supply of miscellaneous greeting and note cards, stamps, and address labels. Choose one that’s “just right” for a person on your heart.
- Save some money for meeting financial needs when led to do so.
Observe the experts.
Think of those you know who seem to be “Johnny-on-the-spot” when needs arise. Our talents and style may differ, but we can gather ideas. Sometimes the best help is just being available to listen.
Evacuate when necessary.
Sometimes God leads us to leave the comfort of home and our busy schedules to minister to someone who needs a helping hand. A brief hospital visit or sitting with a friend’s elderly relative can offer respite and rest. Shopping for groceries or mowing a lawn can provide much-needed help in a time of trial.
We can’t tune in to media reports to assess life needs ahead of time, but preparedness on our part can make it easier to help others when their “storm” comes ashore.
God enables us to meet the needs of those around us. The Good Samaritan in the parable Jesus told (Luke 10:30-37) didn’t know he would meet a battered man on the road to Jericho that day. However, he used the resources and skills he had to minister to a poor soul in dire straits.