By Rev. Dr. Anna Copeland
Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it: Psalm 98:7
It should come as no surprise that I still take storm warnings seriously. Crossing the West Palm Beach bridge in a blinding rainstorm a few years back, I was shocked, witless by the emergency alarm blasting through my cell phone to seek immediate shelter. As a tourist, I learned too late that impossibility, when suspended over water in evacuation traffic. Just now, as a first season resident of Vero Beach, I hear murmurings in advance of hurricane season. Locals assure me all will be well, even as emergency provisions gather in pantries, and boats begin their annual move to higher ground.
Most storms of life are entirely benign, scattering us briefly for cover. Yet storms of another kind may leave us shaken or wounded in the aftermath. Inevitably, we find ourselves in such as time as this. More significant troubles gather like a bruise on the horizon and build for a while before dumping grief upon us. We watch for signs, but cannot always avoid the turmoil. We keenly understand the risks of facing any tempest without an evacuation plan.
Fortunately, the human spirit triumphs with a hope more significant than any imagined threat. Whatever our background or tradition, we humans have a tendency to seek refuge as reliable as any Midwest, basement corner. We huddle there with the beloved community, with neighbors as near as a phone call, text or email away. When the storm finally passes, as storms do, we will emerge blinking into a cloudless day, eager to assess the damage, help our neighbor, and rebuild our community as needed.
We discover hope through the generosity of neighbors, and we also experience hope through the consolation of our faith. The Bible declares in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
It’s tempting for all of us to bar the doors and ride out our challenges until the world returns to normal. Nonetheless, this year of storms created opportunities for a better world on the other side than the one we so reluctantly left behind. We can only pray, God will reveal the yet hidden path to higher ground for us and for all, and will grant us the courage to take it.
This is our hope. When the storms close around you, it is wise to take cover in the basement or inland, or sheltered in place at home, but never alone, and never afraid. Through the consolation of faith and the generosity of neighbors, we’ll get through this together, whatever the future may bring.
Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland is the Interim Senior Minister at Community Church of Vero Beach. Learn more at ccovb.org. You may also read Rev. Dr. Copeland’s blog each Wednesday afternoon at Facebook.com/AnnaVCopelandBlog.