Where do you go for shelter when a hurricane is approaching?
The Momentum conference ended early, and we unsuccessfully tried option after option to change our flight to leave Orlando before Hurricane Irma arrived.
With the violent storm coming, people in Florida shared one common goal: Get to a shelter that’s stronger than the storm. Thousands of residents poured into our hotel by Saturday, fleeing their homes for refuge. We felt safe because the hotel building was designed to withstand the 157 mph winds of a category 5 hurricane.
As followers of Jesus, we’re not exempt from storms in life. But Hebrews 6:18-19 tells us where we can find safety: “Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.”
Beginning in 2009 my family experienced the fury of a storm which shook us to our foundation. We nearly lost our son in a health crisis. At age 13 he experienced a range of symptoms including extreme fatigue, severe joint pain, impaired cognitive ability, balance issues, depression, and the list went on and on. Doctor after doctor was unable to identify the root issue. It became life-threatening.
I debated on whether to attend Momentum in 2011, because I wanted to be at home supporting my wife and son. Donna convinced me she and Wes would be okay and I should make the trip.
When my phone rang after a Thursday morning session with news the crisis had peaked back home, I didn’t handle it well. Here I am more than 1,000 miles away. Should I go home? The problem was, Donna and Wes needed my support NOW, not by the time I could get home.
Two years of acute, daily crisis had already been emotionally exhausting. Now what? I became hard on myself for deciding to make the trip. I went to my room and cried out to God. Not in a polite, gentle way. From the deepest, most desperate place in my heart, it was a cry of agony. God felt distant. I opened my Bible. God still felt distant. I paced the room, feeling helpless. I cried out more.
Then I did something really spiritual… I thought, “I’ll check emails. Who knows, maybe God will speak wisdom and comfort to our situation through a note in an unexpected way?”
I could hardly believe the email which just arrived. We barely knew the couple. They wanted to pray for our family each day for the rest of the year. They felt we were probably in need of prayer cover because of our Kingdom assignment through the radio station. They knew nothing of our son’s health crisis.
In that moment, hope began rising. I knew if the Lord put it in someone’s heart to intercede for us and then He timed the delivery of the note to arrive just when I was at my lowest… God was not distant. He was at work in a powerful, profound way.
They prayed. They recruited 24 others to pray for us each day. The Saturday morning of Hurricane Irma’s arrival in Orlando was seven years ago TO THE DAY of that moment in my Momentum hotel room when Operation Prayer Shield was started by the God who knows our email address.
Seventeen days after the Shield began, we learned the root issue of our son’s health issue. His immune system was severely injured by exposure to toxic mold, hidden behind the drywall of our home. Recovery has been slow and hard. But we’ve watched a miracle unfold before our eyes. Our son got his life back.
Because of what Jesus did, we have access into the Holy Presence of God. That’s the place of refuge where we can find shelter stronger than any storm.
Station Manager, WCIC