This past week, my hometown (Charleston, SC) was impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Our local news started reporting about it & initially I didn’t invest a great deal of attention on it. As the storm approached, the meteorologists seemed as uncertain as they had been when they initially started reporting about it. This hurricane was different, it’s path was unpredictable, and honestly no one knew if it would hit us. Since we were in the path, our county was declared under a state of emergency, school was canceled, and necessary precautions were underway.
I was used to leaving every time a hurricane (we get them often) would directly hit Charleston. My family and I would pack up & have the best hurrications (it’s a made up word combining the words hurricanes and vacations). My son began to love this time of year just for the trips! This time was different. This time they couldn’t figure out if we’d have a direct hit or not. So for the first time in a very long time I made the decision to stay amidst uncertainty. No matter what came now, I had to weather the storm.
It was midnight last Thursday when the storm passed along our coast. I woke up around 2AM as the power flickered on and off. Through my blinds I could clearly see the trees as they bent back and forth caught by the grips of such powerful winds. I have a lot of trees in my backyard so I did have a fear of a tree or two falling. I gazed on hopeful that my house would be protected from tree falls or any damage.
Eventually the sounds of the wind put me back to sleep. I woke up again to flickering power because I’m used to sleeping with the TV on. I once again saw those trees tossing in the wind and God spoke to me. Since I teach Science, I’ve taught a lot about roots being a structural part of plants that is vital to their survival. As I looked at those trees, I started thinking that many of those trees probably have been standing longer than the totality of my life; that they’ve weathered many other storms before. Then I immediately began to envision the intricacies of their roots. I started to imagine how deep their roots had been in the ground, intertwined with others, and some obviously more deeply rooted than others. As I looked on, I was so impressed that even in the midst of a hurricane, those trees held their ground. God put on my heart this question, how deep are your roots planted?
As those trees tossed and branches broke off and leaves fell to the ground, I started to really question how deeply planted and rooted am I in Jesus? It’s so easy to say we’re believers and we have faith but I’m starting to question whether that’s enough anymore. My son and I even prayed the day before aloud in my living room and we declared that we had faith that He’d protect us during the storm. I was so certain after that prayer. I wasn’t worried about anything.
The tricky thing about faith is, it can’t be conditional. Faith is a consistent and constant belief in God no matter what the circumstances look like. It’s easy to say a prayer and believe initially and then your faith waiver or be completely eradicated when it’s put to the test which brings me back to the question posed earlier. How deeply planted am I in Jesus? While I can’t answer that question quantitatively, I can be honest and say not deeply enough. I want to be like the trees in my backyard; firmly planted.
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”- Colossians 2:7
As I looked at those trees the next day more closely, I realized that none of them had completely fallen nor were uprooted but a few were broken. Some lost a number of branches (large & small), one lost the upper half of the tree, and others lost bundles of leaves. Even in the midst of their brokenness, they still stood. Isn’t that what God is requiring of us? No matter how life has changed or even at points broken us we still have to stand firm on His Word and His promises. This hurricane served more than just a mere physical purpose, it provided a spiritual one too.
I’ve learned that it’s unacceptable to God to have front-loaded faith; it’s either all or none. I’m committed to having complete faith in Him. After all, He’s proven Himself over and over. I am like one of the broken trees that stands in my backyard. I’ve had numerous surgeries but like the broken tree God kept me standing. I’ve endured chemotherapy and all the symptoms alike and God kept me. I’ve had a miscarriage but again God kept me. I survived Hurricane Hugo at the age of 1 when our townhouse (at the time) lost it’s entire back wall & all the windows blew out and God kept me. I’ve even survived being held at gun point in my mother’s belly as the gas station she worked at was robbed and God kept me. I have way more reasons to trust Him.
As my son & I cleaned our yard (after the hurricane) and picked up the branches and raked the leaves, I thought about how we have to go through certain storms in life to loose some things off of us. Sometimes we have to remove people, negative thoughts, jealousy, and even bad habits. Sometimes God will take you through a storm to break some things off of you. Those trees in my back yard broke a lot off but they’re still standing and so are we! I’m committed to taking a deeper dive into my relationship with God and having faith in Him, are you? God bless you on your journey!