In 1998 my friend Tony and I took our first exploratory trip to the Bay Islands of Honduras with plans for our church to do mission work. We traveled to the islands on the heels of Hurricane Mitch and saw destruction everywhere. From our boat on the ocean, as we traveled from one island to another, we could see the trees stripped bare of their branches as a result of 180 miles per hour sustained winds. Homes were destroyed. Bodies still lined the coastline because officials were overwhelmed trying to attend to all the needs. It was, to say the least, devastating. Similarly I traveled with another friend, Tom, in 2005 immediately after Hurricane Katrina brought its wrath to the Gulf Coast. The results were eerily similar to those Tony and I saw in the Bay Islands; the need for ministry and rebuilding was great.
In both instances our church partnered with local groups in those locations to help with the cleanup and rebuilding. The atrocious amount of destruction created by each storm was horrible for the people of those communities. I asked myself, “How do we prepare for disaster on that scale?” To be honest, there are some storms scientists, architects and engineers tell us regardless of how prepared we are we cannot survive. Such is the unbelievable force of nature.
Perhaps you or someone you know has gone through financial storms that were absolutely devastating. A medical crisis could financially ruin even the most prepared. Thankfully, storms like Mitch and Katrina are not the everyday norm of life. When they come, we must all gather around one another and rebuild. However, we need to prepare financially for the common storms of life. To assume storms are coming may seem a hopeless point of view at first. At Alive Church we always say: “You are either in a storm, just getting out of a storm or heading toward a storm.” I understand this is not good news, but this is life. And even more importantly, once the storm hits it’s too late to get prepared.
The good news is regardless of the storms we face – financial, physical, mental, spiritual or relational – God promises to be with us through the storms. He promises to go before us in the storm. He promises to meet our needs before and during the storm. He promises to never leave us as we navigate the storm. And He promises to give us the strength and courage needed to persevere. “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2) Though we can and should depend on Him and His promises, we should also walk in wisdom and do our part to prepare in the ways He tells us to for the future. In talking about financial storms, as in all of life, there are seasons. “He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.” (Proverbs 10:5 NIV) In this book we especially want to look at how we should prepare in the season of prosperity for potential times of lack or worse – financial storms.