Living in Maine, we know that storms will come. Some of us fly south for the winter, hoping to avoid them. But as last year’s devastating hurricane season demonstrated, no place is exempt from the potentially destructive forces of nature.
When forecasters predicted a foot of snow and blizzard conditions along the coast of Maine earlier this month, I hauled my largest canning kettle out of the basement and filled it with water. I made sure we had enough fuel to keep a glowing fire in the woodstove. And I stocked up on groceries.
Just as Maine will get pummeled with snow each winter, we can anticipate storms in our lives as well. More importantly, we can prepare for them. While we may not know from what direction the winds may blow and what season will be the most destructive, we can prepare for devastating events by filling our daily life with prayer, keeping the fire of the Holy Spirit glowing in our hearts and stocking our spiritual house with faith.
Two years ago, when my family moved to a small rural homestead, a new neighbor curiously asked whether we were “preppers” like a growing number of survivalists hunkering down for the end of the world. I laughed. Although I like to be prepared and am deeply concerned about the future of the world, I’m more of a spiritual prepper, striving to stay connected to the one who made the world and walking with him through it.
When life is going well and those we love are healthy and happy, it’s easy to become complacent about our spiritual life. But when someone we love receives a devastating diagnosis or our safety and welfare are jeopardized, we are more likely to cry out to God for help. Thankfully – unlike the local supermarket – he never runs out of supplies. God is always open and available. And he is able to come to our aid, wherever we are.
And yet, what an opportunity we miss to deepen our trust and receive God’s peace and understand his plan for our lives, when we ignore his generosity and run to him only in emergencies. God wants a part in our daily life rather than just having us show up when we need something and then to ignore him when the crisis is over.
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always,” I Chronicles 16:11 says. Always. Not just when the forecast appears dim. Yet, even if the storm clouds are closing in and your spiritual pantry is empty, Scripture promises, “He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea,” Psalm 102:17. For “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth,” Psalm 145:18.
And so, as we hunker down through another Maine winter, I am reminded that the most important supplies are not found in a store but are available to everyone, all lifelong.
Meadow Rue Merrill, the author of Redeeming Ruth: Everything Life Takes, Love Restores, writes for children and adults from a little house in the big woods of midcoast Maine.