Do you need anything before it starts raining?

We interrupt our regularly scheduled run of questions and answers for this special series of storm-related posts. Once Harvey has left the Texas Coast, we will return to our normal pattern of saints, practices and commentaries. For now, the first in a indeterminate-part series of storm-related posts:
“I’m just calling to see if there is anything that you and Dad need before it rains?” I was, in fact, trying to be a dutiful son. This weekend marks my parent’s first foray into tropical-storm-i-cane weather since moving to Texas about 18 months ago.
“You’re serious,” Mom replied, “this isn’t the set-up for one of your Late2Church blogs?”
“We’ll, I hadn’t thought of that yet. But I guess it could be.”
“Yeah, I think God must have asked Noah the same thing right before he closed the doors.”
Preparedness has been on my mind for the last couple of days. Though my family and I have yet to experience the deep ravages of a hurricane – it’s been a quiet decade here in South East Texas – we are well schooled in the drill of stocking up on supplies, topping up the tank and trying not to obsess over every social media comment that has anything to do with the weather. Even my kids know to keep their devices plugged in and they no longer argue when we forbid the eating of dry goods as long as the power is on. The preparation mind-set is pattern we fall into starting several days before the first rain-drop falls.
I often wonder, though, how our forebarers did it. When there was no such thing as The Weather Channel or, how did folks know when to shift into prepare mode? How did they know when they should head to the market and start cleaning out the toilet paper shelf and the chip aisle? It seems like in a less well connected age, even something as large as a Hurricane could flat sneak up on you.
I often like to think that those who came before were simply made of sterner stuff than we are. Maybe this means that they were in some kind of state of constant preparedness, always ready for the next big thing. Maybe they kived their lives with perpetually stocked shelves, always being sure to pick-up more toilet paper, even if they had a few rolls left under the sink. Sadly, I think this is something of a romantic fantasy. Otherwise why would Jesus, and St. Paul and so many of the Old Testament prophets constantly be telling people to “Prepare!”
 I know, a big storm and “The Day of the Lord” are different things. But the spiritual and mental disciplines of preparedness are not. Training yourself to think about the future, what need’s you’ll have and what possible contingencies might evolve is the same whether your planning to hunker down for a few days or spend an eternity in joy and felicity with your creator. This is one of the central tennets of this blog and, I feel, one of the most underapreciated aspects of the life of faith for contemporary folks.
While our relationship with God is ultimately about divine things – it is with GOD after all – it is first and foremost and relationship. God loves us with the same kind of Love, although infinitely more of it, that we have for one another. Belief in God comes from the same place of trust in us that allows us to believe in each other. Preparing for the ultimate return of the Lord (the subject of another post) requires the same disciplines of mind and heart as preparing for the arrival of a guest, or preparing to attend a party, or preparing for a tropical storm. Moreover, doing any of the later is, in fact, a form of preparing for the former. It’s kind of like spiritual discipline for everyday life!
So, my friends, if you live on the Texas coast or anywhere in Southeast Texas, “PREPARE!” Word on the stree is that its going to be a bad one this week. For those who are lucky enough to be out of harms way this week, pray for us. And spend some time preparing for something else. You’ll be better off the next time a storm comes your way, and better off when it comes time to meet with Jesus.
More from the storm-zone later.

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