Safe in the Storm

The reason I did not post a blog entry last week is because we were without power for several days due to Hurricane Idalia. The nation was watching as the storm made landfall Wednesday, August 30, in Florida’s Big Bend area as a category 3 hurricane packing winds of 125 mph.

The Weather Channel had meteorologists and camera crews here in Valdosta, Georgia, because we were in the path of the storm. We were warned of high winds, serious damage, and loss of power, perhaps for several days. Sure enough, the storm crossed into South Georgia about 10:00 am with winds exceeding 100 mph.

The wind was howling outside as Connie and I were watching the Weather Channel when suddenly the screen went black and the house went dark. We hunkered down for several hours with no air conditioning, no lights, and no refrigeration, praying that our own and our neighbors’ houses would be spared serious damage.

The violent storm blew all Wednesday afternoon. Connie and I are grateful that our house withstood the fury, except for a few shingles on the roof and a section of back fence which was blown over. My rain gauge measured seven inches of rainfall in our back yard.

Late in the day I went for a walk around the neighborhood. I heard the humming of gasoline generators powering several of my neighbors’ houses. Debris was everywhere but in our area it appeared that the houses remained in good shape.

Later I learned that 90% of Lowndes county was without power. Over a thousand power poles snapped. Hundreds of large trees were uprooted. Some of them fell on houses in Valdosta. Roads and streets were blocked by fallen trees and downed power lines. Needless to say, many retail businesses were unable to open until power was restored.

Connie and I left town to stay in a motel Thursday night to escape the heat and darkness. On Friday the Lord provided another place with air conditioning for us to stay overnight. Power was restored to our neighborhood late on Saturday, September 2, a blessing we appreciate now more than ever.

The experience has been a sobering reminder of what dependent creatures we are. We are dependent on God for life and health and the provision of our daily needs. We are dependent on other people for their help and expertise. Psalm 148:8 refers to the “stormy winds that do his (God’s) bidding.” Maybe one reason the Lord allows storms is to remind us of how much we need him.

As I was throwing out spoiled food from the refrigerator, I was reminded of how blessed we are to have an abundance of food in this nation of plenty. As I saw neighbors helping neighbors with cleanup, I thought of how much we need other people, perhaps more than we realize.

Last Sunday Connie and I went to church to worship the Lord. Along with hundreds of other folks we gave thanks to God for his protection and provision. We prayed for those whose homes were damaged. We thanked God for the electrical crews who came to Valdosta from other states to help our local power companies. We gave thanks for the volunteers from all over Georgia who came as part of the Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief ministry.

We gave thanks to God that we were kept safe in the storm.

Pastor Randy Faulkner