By Tommy Rush

The Weather Channel reported this week that eight named hurricanes have made landfall in the United States this year. Even as I write this article, I’m watching the report of Hurricane Sally passing over Orange Beach, Alabama where many of my family members currently live. Growing up in Mobile, I’ve had a lot of experience with hurricanes. My first was Hurricane Camille that hit Biloxi in August 1969. It was a long time ago, but I still remember vividly the constant wind and strange tearing and whistling noise coming from our roof. The next morning, I learned that I was hearing the sound of shingles leaving our roof and zipping through the air like frisbees. Did you know that flying shingles can do some serious damage to a parked car? Our Plymouth Belvedere Station Wagon looked like it had been in a demolition derby and lost!

After Camille, my Dad decided if we were ever warned to evacuate a storm, we would pack up and leave town. We were visiting family in Mississippi when Hurricane Frederic hit in 1979. The funny thing is that we evacuated to the city where the hurricane actually came ashore. Before you laugh, just remember we didn’t have access to weather radars or cell phones in 1979.

Over the years I’ve learned a lot about hurricanes. I’ve learned that whenever a weather reporter says it is going to be in the upper 90’s and she’s talking about wind velocity, it’s probably best to evacuate. I’ve also learned that it’s a good thing to have a clear evacuation route mapped out before you leave. It’s also best to stay on the roads that have the small blue signs that read, “Hurricane Evacuation Route.” Sometimes when no one is on the road you’re traveling and it seems like the wind is blowing at your back, it might be because the road is closed ahead. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a train. Sometimes it’s a State Trooper telling you to turn around because the road is washed out. We experienced most of Hurricane Frederic in our family car trying to get home in the storm.

Another big lesson learned is that it’s best to prepare for hurricanes before they arrive. It’s hard to move the car when shingles are zipping by your head at 90 mph. It’s hard to drive on roads that has water rising on it or trees that have fallen across it. It’s also difficult to buy gas and supplies when the lines are long and the shelves are empty. It really is a lot better to prepare long before the storm arrives!

The best thing I’ve learned about storms is a lesson Jesus taught in Matthew 7:24-27. He actually describes a storm that sounds a lot like a hurricane when He said, “the rains fell, the floods came and the winds blew and beat against the house.” He went on to say that everyone who lives their life on the principles of His Word can be compared to the person who built their house on the rock. When the storms come, the life built on the promises of God will stand. The life built on the shifting sand of this world will fall. Yes, whether we build on the rock or the sand, big storms are eventually coming to both. But after the storm comes, you will know what was built on solid rock and what was built on sinking sand.

8 thoughts on “GOODNESS GRACIOUS

  1. I have memories of Hurricane Camille too. Very, very powerful storm that turned at the last minute away from New Orleans and hit the Mississippi gulf coast dead on. My family owned a trucking company. The day after Camille passed the Red Cross called wanting to rent two of our truck-tractors (semis) to pull two 40-foot trailers of relief supplies to Biloxi-Gulfport. My dad said, Nope! you cannot rent them, but we will deliver the trailers for free. I was 11 yrs old and my dad allowed me to go with him, as he drove one of the trucks. We had just the week before had a short family vacation on the coast. What a shock to see the damage!

    We were directed by the Mississippi National Guard on a round-about route to get into Biloxi since many roads were blocked. As we pulled into a parking lot area where a shopping center used to stand, but was now gone, I remember people wrapped in blankets seemingly coming from every direction. We had only to drop the trailers, but my dad insisted on helping unload them. I mostly stood to the side experiencing what was a traumatic event. The power of 200mph winds…and a wall of water 20 feet high. And seeing people at their best, when things are at their worst.

    God bless all first responders!

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