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THE WORD: When the unexpected storm hits

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. Matthew 8:24

We were prepared for Hurricane Florence. It approached like a lurching giant. Many people had time to prepare and get water, batteries, food, bread, milk … and lots of snacks. Tropical Storm Michael wasn’t given much thought by most people. We had already eaten the snacks stocked up for Florence. It had been a normal Thursday: work, school, every day life. We didn’t even think to buy water, batteries, food, bread, milk, much less stock up on snacks. Such is the nature of an unexpected storm.

Maybe it was the day a beloved parent died. Maybe it was the day a doctor announced painful or devastating news. It could have been the day you fell off the financial tightrope and found there was no safety net. It could have been the day of the arrest, the divorce, the lawsuit, the attack … you fill in the blank. If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve seen such a day. It’s the nature of unexpected storms. The only thing we know about them for certain … is that they are, indeed, a certainty. The unexpected storm is a part of the life experience.

During the ministry of Jesus, there were lots of unexpected moments. Some of those unexpected moments were very difficult. And just as it was in Farmville, there came a day for the disciples when they found themselves in a storm that caught them completely unprepared.

Power was restored to where I live in Dillwyn on Saturday after losing it on Thursday. The crews worked hard and did an admirable job. We weren’t mentally prepared to live without power for three days. Had power not been restored, we would have had church on Sunday without power, unplugged and with candlelight. That was not the case. We had much to be thankful for.

The town of Dillwyn celebrated by unveiling its LOVE sculpture at Buckingham Branch Railroad Saturday (they had a generator) at the right time. Love is a powerful message.

The storms are coming. To you. To me. No one gets a free pass from funerals, disease or tragedy. You don’t get to bypass disappointment just because you were faithful in following Jesus. There’s no guarantee of good times, if you’ll just be a good disciple.

What we are guaranteed is that God will be with us. Maybe the storm doesn’t come in the form of a hurricane, or even a tropical storm. Maybe you’re at home, finally alone, and you’re dealing, one-on-one with the cancer that’s been discovered in your body. The key to surviving life’s storms is having Jesus “in the boat with you.”

So the question today isn’t about whether or not the next storm is coming. It is coming. No doubt about it. The real question is this: Are you ready?

JOHN MOXLEY can be reached at Jmoxley1@juno.com.