Longfellow said, “Into every life a little rain must fall.” Most adults have found this to be true; what’s more, for many of us it has been more than “a little rain.” Our lives may have experienced “storms” and tests that have left us feeling like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Storms from relationship failures, family problems, health problems, and financial problems have blown into our lives and have wreaked havoc on our calm seas.
In Weathering the Storms of Life, author and pastor Ricky D. Bishop provides guidance for enduring the storms of life while keeping faith intact and experiencing growth at the same time. Using his family’s encounters riding out Hurricane Isabel in eastern North Carolina in September of 2003, Bishop discusses “storm at sea” passages from the Bible and relays principles for preparing, finding peace, finding power, and rethinking our priorities in the storms that come our way.
Providing encouragement and simple lessons, Weathering the Storms of Life weaves scriptural insights and the threads of modern-day life to help you not only survive the tough times in your life, but learn from them as well.
From 2000 to 2010 I served as a pastor in a small community in the northeastern corner of North Carolina. Edenton was just an hour from the Outer Banks of North Carolina on the tip of the Albemarle Sound, just off the Atlantic Ocean. Soon after moving there from the safety of the mountains in Western North Carolina, I began to hear about Hurricanes. They spoke of “Hurricane Parties” and days spent indoors while the Hurricanes would howl and tear up the place. Coming from the mountains which tended to protect us from these storms our family was fascinated and intrigued at their stories.
In September of 2003 the National Weather Service started warning the Atlantic Coast about a tropical storm that had developed and had picked up enough steam to get the name Isabel. I learned when they get a name it’s not a good thing. Soon all the local news stations began to put out information on storm preparedness. Brochures where available in grocery stores, hardware stores, convenience stores and even banks to let you know what you needed to do to prepare for the storm.
As Isabel moved across the Atlantic and Caribbean, the trackers of storm patterns began to predict that she would make landfall somewhere on the Carolina coastline. The authorities began to ask people to evacuate or at least make plans for a major hit.
I hate to say it but the Bishop’s were somewhat excited. I realize now that it was a little naïve but we where planning for our “Hurricane Party.” We had decided instead of evacuating and heading to stay with our family in the mountains that we would “ride it out” and play board games and eat junk food.
I did half-heartedly do some of the things listed on the “Storm Preparedness” brochures. I made sure I had fresh batteries in the flashlights. I bought some extra candles and matches, saved some water in empty milk jugs and put ice in some coolers I had. I made sure my cell phone was charged up and dug out an old transistor radio I hadn’t used in years. I even filled up the bath-tub with water but had no idea why they had suggested this. I turned the kids trampoline upside down, and put the porch furniture in the storage building. I did all this thinking all this was over-kill and a waste of time.
Isabel made a direct hit on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks on September 18th 2003. A new inlet was formed on Hatteras Island dubbed Isabel inlet, and she rode straight up the Albemarle Sound to hit Edenton around noon that day. I learned a lot about hurricanes and myself over the next few days.
1) I will pay close attention to the evacuation routes and run for the hills if it ever happens again.
2) You can fail to be prepared for a storm, but you can never be over prepared for a storm
Ricky D. Bishop grew up in the mountains of western North Carolina and has served in the ministry as a senior pastor for more than thirty years; he currently serves at Coinjock Baptist Church in northeastern North Carolina. Bishop and his wife, Brenda, have five children and three grandchildren.