What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Who Calmed the Storm?

Hurricane Matthew was predicted to hit our state as a category four major hurricane this past weekend.  All of the weather forecasters were predicting an extremely vicious storm, threatening us with severe high winds and rain that would cause major damage to those of us living within sixty miles or more of the Atlantic Coast of Florida.  Our home was right on the borderline of being in the highest hurricane force winds, and it was even recommended that people living in our part of the county should evacuate.  It wasn't mandatory, but highly recommended especially for people living in mobile/manufactured homes.

Thankfully, our house is a solid concrete block home,

so we were not fearful so much for it to be a high risk...but we live in the middle of the Ocala National Forest, and are surrounded by many tall sandpines...which have a very shallow root system and are easily uprooted or snapped in two by any high winds.  So my concern was mainly for what could happen if any of those trees fell on our house.

My other anxiety was the inevitable loss of electricity, because those trees would most likely be falling on power lines throughout the area, disrupting power...and who knows how long it would be before the power company would be able to get around and repair all of the damage and restore our power. Since we also have a well with an electric pump, loss of electricity means loss of water...which creates other interesting complications for living in a house full of people.

So, Thursday night before the storm started I walked around our home and prayed and implored God to build His hedges high around and to give His angels charge over our home and our family, our friends, neighbors, and loved ones, wherever they may be in the path of the storm.  I also boldly prayed that God would blow the storm a little ways to the east, out to sea, away from the coastline, and thus lessen the impact upon our state.  I mean, what is wrong with asking God to move the storm over a few miles, possibly saving hundreds of lives and protecting our homes, property and coastline from severe damage? After all, Who created the wind and the rain to begin with? Was it not God?  And Who commands the stormy winds and seas, and also has the power to still the raging storm at just a word spoken from His mouth?

Psalm 107:23-31 says:

"Those who go down to the sea in ships,
who do business on great waters,
They see the works of the Lord,
and His wonders in the deep.
For He (the Lord) commands and raises the stormy wind,
which lifts up the waves of the sea.  
They mount up to the heavens,
they go down again to the depths;
Their soul melts because of trouble.
They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
and are at their wits' end.
Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brings them out of their distresses.
He calms the storm,
so that its waves are still.
Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
and for His wonderful works to the children of men!"

And so I prayed...and then after filling the bathtub and various buckets, pots and pans with water, and stuffing extra bags of ice in the refrigerator/freezer, I went to bed and waited to see what the Lord would do.  

When we woke up Friday morning the winds and rains were just barely getting started. The very first event that happened, even before I could get the hot water boiling for my morning cup of tea, the power went off...at 6:30 a.m., just like that! Snap! No power! No lights, no water, no air conditioning, no stove, nada, nothing, zap! I thought to myself, "Lord, that wasn't funny!  I hope you plan to restore the power right away, because I really need my cup of tea, and breakfast, and a shower, and the phone and the computer and the TV so we can watch the weather reports, and, and..."  But apparently He wasn't listening to my plea.  The power did not come back on. Not even a little blink. It was totally O.U.T.!  

So after a cold breakfast of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, (eaten on the front porch before the rain got too bad to sit there)
we settled in for the day of watching the rain and wind and figuring out what all we needed to do to survive the storm.

My hubby and adult sons discovered that not being able to watch the TV or use the computer left them with a whole lot of time to do....?? Well, whatever they could do in the pouring down rain inside a dark house. 

 One son taking a nap on the couch
Another son eating homemade cookies...

Our house tends to be a little dark when there is no sunshine, so the brightest area was our sun-porch, which I claimed so I could sit and read.
 Hubby joined me for a while, but not being such an avid reader as I, he soon resorted to other activities...counting coins by candlelight? He was bored!  Ha!

Throughout the day we heard many trees snapping and popping around us in the woods, and we continued to pray that no harm would come upon our home or anyone we knew.

By supper time it seemed that the storm was abating somewhat, but there was still no sign of electricity being restored, so we dodged the raindrops and cooked hotdogs, beans, and fried potatoes outside on the grill, and ate dinner by candlelight and an oil lamp. I felt much like the Ingalls' family in "Little House on the Prairie". Kind of fun...but thankful it hopefully wasn't going to be a permanent way of life...

Throughout the day we kept expecting the storm to get worse, because the weather predictions had been so dire.  Since we had no means of communication, there was no way for us to know what was really happening with the intensity of or direction the storm was heading. We just continued to pray and watch and wait.

After supper the rain and wind had actually stopped enough for us to go outside and look around. As we walked out onto our road, we saw many trees felled by the wind, blocking the path for vehicles to get through.  So the guys got busy and started cutting up the trees enough so that people could get by.

As we realized that the storm was indeed passing by, and that we had not suffered any serious damage to our property, home, or persons, we truly began to rejoice and give thanks for God's mercy and goodness.  We checked on our immediate neighbors and found that they were also safe and sound, and like us, very thankful to be alive.  Of course, we still didn't have any electricity or water, but we were safe, our homes were intact,  and it was apparent that God had done something special...because this storm was not as bad as it was supposed to have been!

The next morning we still didn't have any power, and hubby and I were both in need of some hot coffee (hubby) and tea (me), and also having a bit of cabin fever, we decided to take a ride and see if there was any place open that had power and coffee!  We noticed the power trucks and tree cutters out doing their jobs...and prayed they would soon have our power restored as well.

Happy Me with my Hot Tea!
Hubby with his paper.

Thankfully, we found a gas station open about 10 miles away and got our hot drinks and headed back home to start the clean up process. We also bought a newspaper, and settled on the sunny front porch to enjoy a cool morning breeze and some fresh air for a few minutes before digging into the work for the day.

As we started reading the paper, my son held up the headlines for me to see:
It said that our county "dodged the bullet"...that the storm was not as bad as it was predicted to be... and, well, read it for yourself:

Do you see what I see? 
 "A simple jog to the east late Thursday, as well as a slight weakening early Friday, was enough to keep the worst of the dangerous Matthew out of Marion County..."

Hmmm..."A simple jog to the EAST late Thursday..."    Yes, that is exactly when I was praying for exactly that to happen...and I found out later that many others were praying for the exact same thing...and well...

"Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble,
and He brings them out of their distresses.
He calms the storm,
So that it's waves are still."

Can God do this? Does He really hear our cries and answer our prayers??? Does He really have this kind of power over the wind and the sea?  Well, let's see if there is another story that you might recall.  Read Mark 4:35-41 for the whole story, but the most important verses are when Jesus is awakened by His disciples as they feared the boat was going to sink in the great windstorm, 
(verses 39-41)

"Then He arose and rebuked the wind, 
and said to the sea,
And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
But He said to them,
'Why are you so fearful? 
How is it that you have no faith?'
And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another,
'Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!'"

In Matthew's gospel version of this same story, chapter 8:26, Jesus asks the disciples, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?".   Interesting...this was in Matthew's gospel...and this event we had was Hurricane Matthew.

Anyway, I believe Jesus is still asking us today this same question...even after we prayed and prayed and asked Him to calm the storm...to drive it further away...we still doubted that it would really happen...and then when it DID happen just as we prayed, I've heard some people say that the weathermen just didn't know what they were talking about when they made all those predictions...their scientific instruments weren't all that accurate if they couldn't even predict where this storm was going...and how soon do we forget that God did exactly what we asked Him to do...and we try to explain it to faulty equipment or false predictions?

I go back to Psalm 107, verse 1-2, which says:

"Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy."

Yes, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!"
Praise God! He calmed the storm!
He drove the storm further out to sea and spared many lives.

I know this storm has been very dangerous in other places, and we don't want to forget Haiti, Cuba, The Bahamas, and other parts of the United States eastern seaboard who are still reeling from the ravages of this same storm. I don't understand why they have had such a difficult time and we have been spared.
 But, I do want to go on record as recognizing God's great mercy shown toward us here, and I believe we need to say so.
We do need to pray for those who are still suffering and hurting, and do whatever we are able to do to help.

Oh, and by the way, our power was finally restored 36 hours after it was lost.  We spent 36 hours living off the grid...and survived!  We survived in more ways than just an inconvenience to our comfort.  We survived because God indeed drove the storm further out to sea and changed it's course and intensity as a direct response to many prayers. I firmly believe that...and will continue to give Him the praise and honor He so deserves for hearing and responding to our prayers in such a miraculous way. Yes, our Heavenly Father calmed the storm for us literally.  And He can do that and so much more for you as well...just ask Him!


  1. I heard that Ocala got hit a little harder than we did here in Lakeland. I'm so happy to hear you had no damage to your house or to your loved ones! Back in 2004 we ended up without power for three days. We bought a generator after Charlie, Frances and Jean, so we were prepared for power outages this time. Since we bought the generator, we haven't had to use it...we call it our insurance. Ha.

    Our newspaper had a very similar story which I posted for my Monday blog. God is so good! We were praying the same prayers, probably around the same time. God is good all the time.

    1. Isn't God good? We are hoping to buy a generator now, if we can find one. We tried the day after the storm, but everyone was out of them. Hopefully it will provide the same "insurance" for us as it has for you! Glad to know you are okay as well. The prayers were all answered!


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