Words of Worth

Storm Warning!

August 19, 2010

For many years I lived near a coastal region in the southern part of the country near the Gulf of Mexico.  Every spring tornadoes would roar through our area and by the time that storm season had subsided, the hurricanes would start forming and swirling out in the ocean waters.  We would often watch the weather forecast with a wary eye for though we were not close enough to the coast to receive a direct hit, when the storms came on shore, we often felt the effects for several days.

One year a storm came that required a mandatory evacuation; it was the “big one” the weatherman had warned us would someday come.  Now even 180 miles inland, we began to prepare.  We stocked up on drinking water, batteries, and food that wouldn’t spoil just in case the power supply was cut for a few days.  With everything in place, we waited and watched not only the local television station for our updates but also the nearby interstate traffic as thousands navigated through our city in search of higher ground.

However, some people chose to ignore the mandatory evacuation in favor of riding out the storm.  I often wondered why so many would choose to stay in the midst of a storm that promised to be so devastating.  Was it because storms could be fickle and slow down, change direction, lose strength, or be downgraded before landfall?  Was it because of some sense of adventure that surviving such powerful weather could provide? Whatever the reason for not evacuating, this was the storm that barreled through the area with intensity not seen for decades and with a trail of devastation that is still evident today

In the aftermath of that storm, and once the power was restored, Psalm 32:6 caught my eye:

“Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.”

I couldn’t help but think of all the people who chose to remain behind during the storm.  I never understood why they didn’t leave – some of them died there – swept away by the hurricane’s fury and beside that verse in my Bible I wrote, “Don’t wait to evacuate sin.”

Sometimes sin does sort of, well, sneak up on us.  We have an unguarded moment and before we know it, a word slips out or a careless deed has been done but often sin in our lives is like a storm brewing out in the gulf.  We are aware of it, we keep an eye on it and then as it approaches instead of evacuating the sin from our lives, we choose to stay and the flood waters start rising higher until they threaten to overtake us.  Maybe we remain in the midst of the tempest because we think it will not be so intense and ravaging and maybe because the adventure of the storm may actually be pleasurable and exciting.

Backing up in that same Psalm to verse 5, we can see that God provides a “first response” when the storm winds of sin begin to rage around us:

“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.”

The key here is acknowledging our sin quickly and I think the only way to acknowledge it is to be aware of the situations in life (you could call them storms if you like) that cause you to stumble.  Is your heart in a state of spiritual readiness?  Is it tender toward the things of God?  Are you allowing His Word to wash over you and make you clean?  Are you willing to face the sin in your life and evacuate it rather than let IT evacuate YOU?

If you continue reading through Psalm 32, you will notice that verses 10-11 remind you what happens when you keep your heart in check and stay prepared against the onslaught of sin when it threatens to come into your life.

“Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.  Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.”

What sin needs to be evacuated from your life today?  After a time of sincere confession, do a quick heart check and see if you don’t feel like giving a little shout for joy!

Looking for more words?  Read Psalm 32 and make a list of “storm warnings” in your own life.  What situations cause the red flags to wave in the breeze for you?   Consider actions to take when the wind kicks up and determine to evacuate that sin before it’s too late.                                                                                        (written by Cammy Tidwell – Spring 2009)

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