Praying for all

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2018

had something else written for today, but there is but one subject on everybody’s mind now. What is Hurricane Michael going to do?

Oh how things changed so quickly. Our churches were planning to enjoy a four night series of meetings and it looked as if we might have some rain and, perhaps, some strong and tropical winds, but not a hurricane. In the period of one day, that forecast has been doubled or tripled as the hurricane entered the Gulf of Mexico.

The warm waters have provided plenty of fuel for Michael’s strengthening and, when we got to church last night, we had only one choice. Cancel the final two nights and batten down the hatches. There were even suggestions that we needed to get out of town!

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I love the trees of South Georgia, but suddenly the forecast is for those stately oaks and tall pines to become dangerous and prone to being blown to smithereens. I hope I am exaggerating. In the case of weather forecasting, I told someone last night that I hope all of these warnings were simply someone’s idea of urging caution. In other words, I hope they were telling us to be prepared for the worst. I’m praying for the best.

As worried as I am for my own house and whatever, I am just as saddened for what I see along the roads as I drive to my churches.

I see beautiful fields of defoliated cotton, just about ready for the picking. Now, I know that the expected and bountiful harvest is going to be diminished significantly. There is a field of sweet corn at just the tasseling stage. I wonder if it will survive hurricane force winds.

Even though the peanut harvest has been going strong for weeks, now, I know there are still thousands of acres in the ground. That might be the best place for them today and I can only hope and pray that they won’t be deluged and lost.

But, the agricultural crop I fear the most for is the large and heavy limbed pecan harvest. This year, the limbs have already been challenged by the weight of the fruit. I have a friend who has a small grove and the number of limbs that have fallen, all because of the bumper crop, are many. I truly fear what 75-100 miles per hour winds will do to heavy laden limbs.

Battening down the hatches is a sailing phrase. On the deck of sailing ships the opening to the lower deck was called a hatch. Hatches were usually wooden and slatted so that air could flow into the lower decks. When a storm was expected, the hatches were covered with a tarpaulin and the covering was secured by strips of wood to keep it from blowing off. Battening down the hatches became a phrase with the meaning of preparing for trouble.

The city of Bainbridge has, responsibly, forewarned us that we should prepare for trouble. As I mentioned earlier, I hope they are being cautious with their warnings. I hope that our preparations for Hurricane Michael will be obedient and serious.

At the same time, let us not forget that prayer is not to be our last resort, but our first report. Last night the message of the revivalist was good, but if he could have foreseen our predicament, he might have chosen the scripture where Our Lord calms the storm.

In an old hymnal, there is the song “Peace! Be Still!” The chorus begins, “The winds and the waves shall obey My will.” I’m praying for God’s mercy.