“What was suppose to be a relaxing anniversary cruise week with my wife has now put me in a whirlwind of panic. Our ship has decided to port Friday night, and all I can think about is where are we going to get gas? Only a quarter of a tank and the car in Port Canaveral and the storm to hit the next day. I don’t know what to do, are we about to lose everything? God please divert this storm!”
I never thought I would ever be faced with the possibility of losing everything, but as Clay and I cruised in the Gulf on our first solo trip since our honeymoon Irma was brewing in the Atlantic. Within the first day of our cruise we were diverted from our original itinerary in the Caribbean and taken to Mexico and Belize. While we were sipping on craft cocktails, basking in the sun and eating all we could stomach my parents sat in Naples caring for Ezra and watching the storm move closer. With limited contact I grew anxious as we too watched with baited breath while Irma loomed. First to hit the East Coast, my parents evacuated Naples, with our son to a hotel in Orlando. But soon the storm shifted and now they had fled to her direct path. Eager to get them to safety a friend contacted me and invited my parents to join them in Panama City Beach with a former collegiate member. Another day of driving they were to safety as Irma again shifted more to the west with a direct path to our hometown.
As she became a category 5 Clay and I were despondent. With everything we owned at home we became concerned as the possibility to lose everything became real. Questions and scenarios overwhelmed our minds, ‘will be have a place to go home to?’, ‘what will be left?’. As our cruise was once again diverted to New Orleans on Saturday we were given a choice, stay on the ship until Wednesday or rent a car and drive to my parents in Panama City. After a lot of debate and a split second decision the morning of, Clay and I decided our parents needed us more than we needed extra days on our cruise. Hours later we were safely reunited with my parents and our baby boy along with our best friends and host family whom we had never before met.
“Mom, we might lose everything” I said as I hugged her. “B, not everything” as she looked at Ezra in my arms. In that moment reality hit me, this storm labeled as catastrophic had the ability to wipe out all of our possessions, but with my family safe my care for our possessions quickly dissolved. Suddenly I no longer cared intensely for all the things I had created by hand to make our home special. The shoes in the closet, the clothes on the racks, even the pictures on the wall were replaceable and Philippians 3:8 came to mind-
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”
Things are only things, and while that seems easier said than done it is the truth. We all face fears of loss, whether drastic like a natural disaster or small like your child breaking a prized possession. We pour so much into the things we have, time and money. While it is hard to let go of those items we need to always remember that things are not equal to God. That vase you bought from
Home Goods Hobby Lobby yesterday isn’t made from the blood of Christ. Things weren’t crucified for you, things don’t care about you, and things didn’t fight for your salvation. We already have the most important possession freely available to us, we don’t need to buy it, and we need to not allow things to get in the way of that free gift.
Hurricane Irma may have had the ability to wipe out the contents of our apartment, the t.v., Clay’s PS3, and new couch, but thank God she never had the power to wipe out my faith and belief that God is sovereign. He reigns harder than any storm, he cleanses deeper than any water, and is worth more than any earthly possession I could ever buy. God spared our home, but this experience was a sobering reminder that He is the only thing that is promised to never leave me. Over time things will come and go, be thrown out and rot. But God will never leave me, come storm, rain or hail and the gain of Christ is the greatest possession I could ever have.