“…anticipate the time of disaster.”

“For no one can anticipate the time of disaster.  Like fish taken in a cruel net, and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12)
Just two days ago I watched folks picnicking in the riverfront park and launching their fishing boats for a day of angling.  Today, it’s raining again and suddenly the Ohio River is flooding its banks again.  As the promotional posters for the series of JAWS movies once proclaimed, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…”
How vulnerable we truly are as human beings!  We expect a certain amount of strain and stress in life, but disasters that suddenly surprise us without warning can be especially devastating.  Our first response is most often shock, almost like a state of suspended animation in which we might feel frozen or numb and find it difficult to get our brain wrapped around the reality of what has just happened to us.  When we exit the shock we might discover ourselves overwhelmed by the rush of many different, intense feelings, almost like the “feeling” returning to a limb after it’s “fallen asleep” from our keeping it in an awkward position.

Physically, emotionally, and spiritually our successful recovery from disaster is based not just on what we do after the fact, but also on the preparations we made before the calamity.  I remember as a child living in a perennially flood-prone area.  It was before the days of “bottled water.”  If the river was rising residents were warned to fill all their containers and bathtubs with water before the area’s treated water supply became tainted and disrupted by rising waters and flooded pumping stations.  Having water after the flood to quench our thirst could depend on how well we prepared by filling our reservoirs before the disaster.

Our own survival as well as our ability to help others through and after disasters also can depend on how well we heeded the call to fill our emotional and spiritual reservoirs before the crisis.  Have we cultivated and nourished good relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors?  Have we nurtured a relationship with our God whose story in the scriptures testifies to divine love that gets us through time and time again?  We may not be able to foretell or forestall some disasters.  However, the choices we make in our day to day living with one another and God may prove a major difference in how we emerge from the next disaster.  I pray that God will help me keep the “reservoirs” filled.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my new book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit www.survivingteendepression.com.

Check out my new video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on May 17, 2011.

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