This photo was taken just north of us, and I am grateful that our property didn't sustain as much damage as these folks did. They're literally up to their waists in water damage! Reports came in from up and down the Gulf Coast of Florida about how many millions of dollars this storm, that wobbled back and forth between a tropical storm and the season's first hurricane, cost. Personally, it only cost us a full day of clean up around our yard and off our roof. Praise God!
There are many variables that affect how much damage you sustain during a storm or natural disaster. The severity, how much warning you had, your ability to prepare, and the unexpected all contribute to how much loss you experience. But after the storm, how well you recover also hinges on a few things. How much personal devastation did you experience? Do you have a support system to rely on while you recover? Do you have the right insurance coverage? Do you have a safe place to stay? Even those of us who believe we have what we need to survive can be caught by surprise by a storm so big that no preparation could prevent the inevitable devastation.
The storms that come in our lives also have the potential to devastate us. Some may only require sweeping up pine needles off of the driveway, while others may force us to relocate and hopefully rebuild. The following list is good advice, no matter what kind of storm you survive:
- Clean up debris - Seek forgiveness if you've injured someone; offer forgiveness if you're the injured party; don't wait or this debris can cause further damage.
- Inspect for hidden damage - Ask God to search your heart for hidden sin; check the other areas of your life to find out how wide spread the damage is.
- Seek help - Friends and family can help, but seek out experts in this area for additional advice, resources and support.
- Remain in a safe area - Either stay in a shelter, or with friends or family who love you unconditionally; just don't sleep out in the elements. It's not safe.
- Contact your insurance company - Stay in close contact with God and godly people. Their wisdom and protection are invaluable. And remember that Christ already paid for your policy in full.
- Repair, replenish, rebuild, reopen - This is the longest and often most difficult part of restoration. You'll need to repair damage, replenish your supplies, rebuild what you've lost, and then finally reopen to a waiting world. Take your time. Don't rush it or you risk shoddy workmanship.
This recent storm barely touched me, but I've been through much worse. And knowing Mother Nature, I can predict that I will face many more storms before my time on this earth is done. God is like good insurance - He doesn't prevent the storms, but He's there to fulfill His promise to pay out whatever I need to be restored. He's there, "like a good neighbor," before, during and after the storm.
The storms of our lives are much like floods. If you think you can avoid them, outrun them, or hide from them, consider this from FEMA.
And when you think you're the only one who has weathered this kind of storm, remember this:
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a whirlwind? If so, did you know that God was in it with you? How?
Copyright 2006 Vicki Caruana. All rights reserved.