It has begun. In the midst of the craziest year that most of us can remember, we now have the first tropical update from the National Hurricane Center that places our community within the dreaded Cone of Uncertainty. For the uninitiated, this means that there is a possibility that a tropical system could pass directly over our Island sometime within the next four or five days. For those people who have more time on their hands then normal – in other words, people who are trying to isolate themselves in defense against Covid-19 – there is one more thing to fixate on and be worried about.
Of course, what is easy to overlook is that the same cone that covers our Island also reaches 100 miles inland to the west, and even further out to sea in the east. Projections on tropical systems made five days out are so broad that they should really serve as a reminder that we live in a part of the world where tropical systems make landfall. We don’t really want to remind ourselves of that fact, but the reality is that we would be wise to remember that this sort of thing could happen any year. Just like tornadoes can strike the heartland any year, or earthquakes in California, or blizzards in the north. There are special hazards associated with nearly everywhere that a person could live, so we do well to be mindful of those hazards and prepare for them.
Bad things happen all the time (although it certainly seems like 2020 is unprecedented), and if we spent all of our time focused on the things that could hurt us or kill us, we would be paralyzed. It certainly seems that we have been suffering that fate this year, which has a terribly cruel result. We spend so much time worrying about not dying that we forget to spend time actually living. While it is true that death comes for us all, we are blessed with opportunities to live in the days that separate our birth from our death. How we use that time matters.
Jesus asked the question “Who of you, by worrying, can add a single hour to his lifespan?” Worrying, whether it be about a global pandemic or a tropical system or anything else does nothing for us. If something is inevitable, we should do what we can to prepare. We practice prudent hygiene and social distancing protocols for defense against disease. We have insurance, evacuation plans, and home preparation for defense against storms. If death is inevitable, are we prepared for that? If not, it will impact how we live, and will certainly be cause for considerable and ineffective worry.
Jesus stated that he came so that we could have abundant life. With his promise of salvation for those who come to him, he offers a life free from the fear of physical death. Such a promise allows us to live free from worry, free from the fear of what might happen. Instead, we can wisely plan for some of the other inevitabilities of life and live our lives to the fullest, knowing that God has already numbered our days and guided our steps.
Be good stewards of all that you have been blessed with, especially your life. But don’t be so afraid to lose it that you lock yourself away from the rest of the world. You have been given the gift of life, so enjoy it and live it abundantly.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron