Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Power of "Hurricane Sandy" < GOD

For the past four days, our family has been bracing for what those around us were jokingly referring to as "Frankenstorm".  Hurricane Sandy, which just came up the eastern seaboard, was expected to come inland and run into a large cold front of air, and both were expected to meet in the central Pennsylvania area.  It was almost comedic, how smack dab in the center of where we were this storm was expected to hit.  Many said it was a storm of epic proportions - above and beyond anything we have ever witnessed here.  

With all that said, we had been preparing for days.  Friday in class, our administrator came in to make sure we were all put on the emergency text or email listings, to be warned if school closed.  Saturday we spent nearly the whole day, lifting nearly everything off the floor in our basement, taking it up to the attic to be stored, in case our septic tank overflowed, or in case water began leaking through the walls, as it had last year when an unexpected hurricane brought days of rain here.  We had things prepared such that we could move all heavy furniture off the carpet so that we could roll up the carpet in a moment's notice.  Last year, half of the basement had to be gutted, walls reinforced or replaced, carpets torn up because there was so much water damage they could not be reasonably salvaged.  It was a nightmare for my parents, who had to move their bedroom completely to another room in the house.  (This might not sound like a big deal, but for two 60-somethings who work full time, it was a major task.)  Needless to say, we must have all looks like rummaging ants from an aerial view.  

Sunday came, and we went to Church, thinking we were well prepared.  At the start of our third hour (Relief Society meeting), the Relief Society President and then the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator led us in a solid 20+ minutes of "make sure you have/do this..."  It wasn't fear mongering  but it was a solid reality check.  We still weren't fully prepared.

Upon returning from Church, we turned on the tv, to hear weather forecasters go on an on about the projected path for this storm.  The worst of it was headed straight for us.  Take down the trampoline, tip over the basketball hoop, move the swing to a secure place.  Pull in all the toys/bikes, park the cars away from tall trees.  Readyyyy, go! 

Sunday evening, we got a robo-call from my kids' school: cancelled for the next two days.  Later on that evening I got a text from my school; it too was cancelled.  

When our kids went to bed, my oldest was by now freaked out by all the hype.  He was asking me about what was going on.  He wanted to sleep with a flashlight, and even better, wanted to sleep in my room.  He wanted to know again and again what the weather was doing - what a cold front was, what a hurricane was, and what was going to happen when they'd collide.  

Among my answers were nice descriptions of what the weatherman had shared.  Also explanations of why we took down the trampoline (this is what mattered to him!), and how sleeping in the lower portion of the house is safer in inclement weather.  I expressed how we would be safe, even if the basement had water leaks or flooding.  But lastly, I said God was in control.  

(Here's one of the creeks near our home, Monday 10/29/12 about 1:35 pm, before the bulk of the storm was expected to hit.  It was already about 2' higher than normal, and about 2' higher than normal.)
Above all, this is what mattered.  It was neat to see how my personal scripture study prepared me for each day along the path.  Last week I read Alma 38:5:
And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
Despite all my earthly preparations, I knew in the end that it was God who controls the elements.  I could build the strongest house ever, but it would only take a millisecond and a zap or God's finger to destroy it, if He wanted.

Today, the day we were supposed to have a lot of residual rain, we have a sprinkling.  We had a few strong wind gusts yesterday, but when we did, I prayed for our home, our things outside, and even the trees around us and our neighborhood and our hillside to be protected.  I don't hear chainsaws, cutting up downed trees.  I only see leaves on the ground.  It is relatively peaceful and calm, and the major networks are back to their regular programming.

When I sat down to open my scriptures this morning, I asked in my mind/heart where I should read today.  Helaman 12 came to mind.  Forgive me, but I'm going to paste in the whole thing, because for some reason, I feel inclined to not cut it short.  It's all ridiculously applicable.  I'll add my comments in another color, plus add some underlining for emphasis.

And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and aprosper those who put their btrust in him.
 Yea, and we may see at the very atime when he doth bprosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of cprecious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do dharden their hearts, and do eforget the Lord their God, and do ftrample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
 And thus we see that except the Lord doth achasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with bdeath and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not cremember him.
 O how afoolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how bquick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their chearts upon the vain things of the world!
 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in apride; yea, how quick tobboast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to cwalk in wisdom’s paths!
 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath acreated them, should brule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at cnaught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.
 O how great is the anothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are bless than the dust of the earth.  (There was nothing I could certainly to do stop the monster storm from crossing our path.)
 For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.  (It certainly does!)
 Yea, behold at his avoice do the hills and the mountains tremble and bquake.
 10 And by the apower of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley.
 11 Yea, by the power of his voice doth the awhole earth shake;
 12 Yea, by the power of his voice, do the foundations rock, even to the very center.
 13 Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved.
 14 Yea, if he say unto the aearth—Thou shalt bgo back, that itclengthen out the day for many hours—it is done;
 15 And thus, according to his word the aearth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the bsun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun.
 16 And behold, also, if he say unto the awaters of the great deep—bBe thou dried up—it is done.  (And if He wants to say unto the waters of the great deep to swirl and form a 900 mile wide hurricane to threaten the people of this land to remember Him, He can do it, and it is done.  Have we trusted in Him or ourselves to defend against this storm, in the end?)
 17 Behold, if he say unto this mountain—Be thou raised up, and acome over and fall upon that city, that it be buried up—behold it is done.
 18 And behold, if a man ahide up a treasure in the earth, and the Lord shall say—Let it be baccursed, because of the iniquity of him who hath hid it up—behold, it shall be accursed.
 19 And if the Lord shall say—Be thou accursed, that no man shall find thee from this time henceforth and forever—behold, no man getteth it henceforth and forever.
 20 And behold, if the Lord shall say unto a man—Because of thine iniquities, thou shalt be accursed aforever—it shall be done.
 21 And if the Lord shall say—Because of thine iniquities thou shalt be acut off from my presence—he will cause that it shall be so.
 22 And wo unto him to whom he shall say this, for it shall be unto him that will do iniquity, and he cannot be asaved; therefore, for this cause, that men might be saved, hath repentance been declared.
 23 Therefore, blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved.
 24 And may God grant, in his great fulness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for agrace, according to their works.
 25 And I would that all men might be saved. But we read that in the agreat and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the bpresence of the Lord;
 26 Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall haveaeverlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting bdamnation. And thus it is. Amen.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and I'm not saying that because this storm hit elsewhere in its massiveness that God is smiting those people.  That is for Him to say and them to realize.  But for me, I know the lightening of the intensity of this storm's impact is a blessing to me.  Both I and my kids have two days off school.  It feels like Christmas break.  We are enjoying one another, resting, and thankful that nothing was damaged.  It was as if white light surrounded and protected our home, trees, and neighborhood.  I thank and praise God.  I know we are in His hands.

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