God is the anchor in any storm

Published 11:08 pm Thursday, September 20, 2018

By Thurman Hayes

As I write this column it is Friday morning, Sept. 14, 2018. The day has been pretty calm and normal. I got up and enjoyed a great walk with a neighbor. I sat in our sunroom reading the Bible and enjoying the view of trees swaying in a gentle breeze. I ground some beans and am now sipping a cup of coffee.

What’s odd about this normal day is that it wasn’t supposed to be normal. Instead, a Category 4 or 5 hurricane was supposed to be hitting us right now. Schools have been closed since Tuesday or Wednesday in our area, simply so people could evacuate or make storm preparations. And now the “storm day” has arrived. And we get a slightly breezy day with some rain showers.

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I just turned on the TV to see how local news is covering this, and I’m seeing a reporter reduced to standing on a street in Portsmouth and saying, “Police haven’t reported any emergency calls.” Meanwhile, her camera crew pans in on some trees moving in the gentle breeze.

And yet earlier in the week we were being warned around the clock that an apocalyptic storm was bearing down on our area!

I don’t mean to make light of this. For people in New Bern and other cities to our south, the storm is causing major flooding and damage, even though it is a Category 1 and not a Category 5. I’ve experienced flooding in a past hurricane, and am praying for them right now as I type.

Furthermore, no one can be blamed for closing schools or other facilities, given what meteorologists were telling us earlier in the week. In fact, even those very meteorologists can’t be blamed, because they were going by what they were seeing. Had the storm remained a Category 4 or increased to a Category 5, it would have been devastating beyond imagination.

But what can we learn from the hurricane, which, for coastal Virginia, turned out to be more of a kitty cat than a ferocious lion?

One lesson certainly has to be the power of 24-hour news and social media to hype a story and send people into an absolute frenzy. In the case of a hurricane, it’s sort of understandable, because the danger is all too real. But think about this: Do you realize the degree to which media is hyping things? They make their living by hyping stories. In a world in which everything is “breaking news,” my fear is that news events of real significance will get lost in the noise. Most of us would be far happier and more peaceful if we decreased the time we spent watching cable news or social media, and instead spent more time reading good books and interacting with real human beings.

A second lesson has to do with the sovereignty of God. Despite our sophisticated weather forecasts, we are still very fallible human beings. Only God ultimately knows and controls what will happen.

Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.” Let us lean upon our sovereign God. He is an anchor in any storm, be it big or small.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.