As I hang up my new calendar on our kitchen wall, I’m reminded that no matter what plans I think will fill the coming days and months, this new year will hold surprises. Not all of them will be good or desirable—as many of us can attest from this past year.
In 2017, as relatively new residents in Florida, my husband and I weathered our second year of hurricanes. We did our best to prepare for the enormous storm predicted to come our way: boarding up our windows, buying bottled water, and making sure our cars were filled with gas. But as Hurricane Irma steadily approached, my orderly life started to feel like it was about to spin out of control.
Our plans to attend Parents’ Weekend at our daughter’s college were cancelled. We struggled to decide about evacuation. No one knew exactly where the hurricane would land in the United States. Would it swing to the east coast of Florida, where we live? Would it head west? In the end, it turned toward the center, with Florida residents scrambling from one supposedly safe location to the next.
Not every storm in life is as dramatic as Hurricane Irma (or Harvey or Maria), but all of us can relate to having our plans upset by unpredictable events. We try our best to schedule our days, to plan out the months and year ahead. And then the storm roars in and disrupts everything.
As a believer, I know that the safest place to be is in the center of God’s plan. I was definitely not calm during those wee hours of the night as the hurricane winds howled around our concrete block home, rattling the shutters and sending branches hurtling down the street. But as we prayed and listened to the radio, with the lights flickering when the power went off for the final time, I was reminded that God—and not this house—was my refuge. He alone is my constant.
No matter what I am facing, whether a weather forecast, a medical diagnosis, or news from my family and friends, God has promised to be my safe place: “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Ps. 32:7–8).
Our house survived the storm. But the hurricane reminded us to trust more in God than in our plans. As we start the new year, let’s resolve to make sure that we’re in the center of God’s loving eye, the only secure place we can trust.