>With the arrival of Hurricane Gustav, I have been thinking about weather and attitudes. I recently discovered that we live in a city with no tornado sirens. Doug discovered that the mentality is that tornados can’t invade our neck of the woods because of the geography of the area – related to how the city is seated in relation to rivers and such. It can be a nice, comforting thought, except for the fact that I’ve lived through a tornado in a very similar geographic location. Before tornados ravaged Arkansas in March of 1997, the people of Arkadelphia, AR, thought that their city was safe as well. But on that dark day an F4 tornado ripped through downtown Arkadelphia destroying businesses and homes in its path.
Am I trying to be a doomsday prophet? Hardly! I would love to believe that a tornado will not invade Monticello because its geographic location is not conducive to tornadic activity. But, I also know that anything is possible. So, Doug and I bought a weather radio to have on hand just in case. You see, we don’t want to be caught with our guard down.
In Monticello, a tornado is not expected – but with all the rain we’ve had we don’t deny that flooding could occur. We’re not tuned to tornado sirens, but we prepare ourselves every time the wintry weather forecast comes around, knowing that Arkansas ice storms can be debilitating and can strike at any point through the winter. We prepare ourselves for what we expect.
Our spiritual lives are much the same. We prepare ourselves to guard against the areas where we expect to falter. We know our weaknesses, and we focus heavily on those areas to keep ourselves right with the Lord. But, what about our strengths? Do we just assume that we will never falter in those areas and proceed through life as if our strengths are impenetrable? I struggle with my temper. I do have to work to keep it in check, and it is something I actively pray over. I falter sometimes, but I know it’s an area of weakness, and I work to keep my guard up. But, what about my marriage? I consider myself to have a very strong marriage. I am not even remotely tempted by other men! Doug and I trust each other explicitly, and we don’t have a problem keeping open communication with friends of the opposite gender. We trust each other. Period. So, I don’t need to worry, right? Wrong! My marriage is strong, but it’s not impenetrable. I must work to protect my heart and my mind, to make sure that I never stray in my thoughts concerning other men. Otherwise one day I might wake up and find that the strong area in my life has crumbled away before my eyes simply because I have not been guarding it just as I guard my weak areas.
I have my weather radio to warn me of the unexpected – and I will put it in an out-of-the-way place somewhere and wait for a tornado alarm that will very possibly never sound. But, it’s there, just in case the danger ever does approach our city. In the same way, I pray daily over the areas where Doug and I are strong, just as I do over areas where we are weak. If the warning comes from the Lord, I want to recognize it. I want to be prepared, and I want to be able to weather the storm with strength.