“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” – 2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV) Recent news signaled the first tropical disturbance of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. For many, and certainly for us here in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), that’s reason enough to be ‘shaking in our shoes’. For the past several weeks since the hurricane season began on June 1st, the relevant authorities have been encouraging everyone to prepare. What does preparedness look like to you? When it comes to preparing for hurricanes we can do practical things like having bags packed, documents in sealed bags, hurricane box, batteries, flashlight, battery-operated radio, and so on. Last year, we did all those things. But looking back at our experience with the 2017 hurricane season we see that nothing could have prepared us for what was to come. Nothing, except God. In a period of less than seven weeks (7 August – 21 September), we experienced a major flood and three hurricanes.

  • Festival Flood – on 7 August 2017: Torrential rain 17 inches in 17 hours, cancelled the Emancipation Celebrations’ August Monday Parade for the first time in its history.
  • Hurricane Irma – Category Five on 6 September 2017: Strongest Atlantic forming hurricane ever recorded. Eye passed directly over the British Virgin Islands (Virgin Gorda, Tortola and Jost Van Dyke). Caused four deaths and catastrophic damage.
  • Hurricane Jose (Category Four – tropical storm strength in BVI) on 9 September 2017: This Category Four hurricane narrowly missed the territory.
  • Hurricane Maria – Category Five on 21 September 2017: Eye passed over the south of St Croix, US Virgin Islands. Caused only slight damage. Struck two weeks after Hurricane Irma.
Our islands were devastated and we ourselves experienced severe damage to our home, cars and property. In the months that followed, our family was temporarily separated while we sought to make sense of the recovery and rebuilding process.

Through all of that, we learned that the most important preparation is a preparedness of the mind.

Isaiah 40: 12-14 (NLT)

“Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice?”

The best way to prepare is to put our trust in God.

While some might be discouraged, even afraid of what can happen during a storm, we can offer them hope. We can remind them to put their trust in the God who holds the oceans in his hands. We can trust that he knows what he’s doing.

Isaiah 40:26 (NIV)

“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”

We can look to God for our strength. He’s not asleep at the wheel. He doesn’t allow us to go unnoticed when we’re facing uncertainty.

Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

When we put our hope in God that is what gives us the strength to face whatever comes. Even if we face utter devastation (which we did), our hope and our strength can be renewed by God himself. Sure, we need to responsibly prepare in a practical sense, but we have learned that trusting in God is the best way to prepare for any storm!