Hurricanes Focus Our Attention


Hurricanes have a way of making everything else seem irrelevant. As I write these words, Hurricane Irma is bearing down on my state of Florida.

It’s September 10, just one day from the 16th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attack that killed about 3,000 Americans and I haven’t heard one word about that mentioned in the news media. Usually this time of year it’s the number one subject on every newscast.

Politics has taken a back seat to the overwhelming needs of the people of Texas after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and the pending disaster of Hurricane Irma in Florida. People across the country are focused on the alarming weather maps that depict the awesome power of a hurricane in bold and impressive colors. News coverage of anything else becomes irrelevant as people riveted to the television wait for the next advisory from the meteorologists at The Weather Channel.

President Trump sensed the importance of bringing the country together in this time of crisis. To mitigate the situation he made a deal with the Democrats that would expedite funding for disaster relief and continue funding of the government for at least three more months.

Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were all smiles after this unexpected presidential capitulation to their short-term goals. The president was thinking more of the needs of the country than partisan politics – a much-needed attitude in Congress that hopefully these Democratic leaders will remember next time funding of the government comes up again.

Even the constant coverage of protests demanding the removal of Confederate statutes and the racial divide in this country are no longer the big stories. The issues that divide our country are suddenly less important than the issues that bring us together. No one is demanding disaster relief only for Democrats or Republicans.

Hurricanes demand your attention. They just won’t let you become distracted by other concerns that are far less important. They force you to consider what really matters in a world where we have so many trivial distractions such as the latest iPhone or what’s trending on social media.

I have a brother who lives in California where earthquakes are all too common. Earthquakes come without warning. There’s no time to plan – only time to react. That means you can’t make preparations, you can’t take steps to mitigate the damage apart from building codes for better construction. You can’t spend time working out a plan to keep your family safe. There’s no time for considering the future.

Hurricanes, however, give you time to think; time to prepare. They force you to make choices about your priorities and the things that really matter. It starts with your family – safety comes first. Is it safe to stay in your home or should you evacuate? If you evacuate where do you go? How many friends do you have who would be gracious enough to accept you if you wanted to take refuge in their home?

You have to make choices about your property. What things are irreplaceable and what things don’t really matter? Ultimately the only thing that is irreplaceable is human life.

We don’t like to consider that we might lose our life in a hurricane but it happens to people every year. We try to pretend we’re only really worried about our property but everyone who has ever faced a Category 5 hurricane must also consider their own destiny. It’s a good time to remember that there are some things we don’t control in this world. Meteorologists have gotten very good at measuring the strength of hurricanes and pretty accurate predicting where they will go, but they have no control over what they do.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence is blaming President Trump for these hurricanes but even Trump doesn’t have that much power. Only God can make a hurricane and only He is in control of the outcome. It’s a good time to ask yourself if you’re ready to stand before Him if the hurricane is coming for you.

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