The people of Florida and the gulf coast are very familiar with hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 with the peak period being from early August through the end of October. This year was especially threatening. The news of Hurricane Irma, with Jose and Katia following close behind, was the big weather news of the 2017 Labor Day weekend. Floridians were preparing for what looked like a category 5 hurricane making a direct hit on their state within the next few days. The storm heading their way was bigger than the entire state of Florida. There was no safe place within the state. Evacuees were instructed to head for Georgia and points north.
Even with current technology, it is hard to predict with accuracy where and when a hurricane will hit and what its strength will be. There were so many variables, and predictions were constantly changing. One weather commentator stated that some residents on the east coast of Florida had gone to the west coast while some west coast folks had actually evacuated to the east coast . . . based upon which prediction they had heeded.
I was struck by the hesitation on the part of some residents to evacuate. It reminded me of the passengers on the Titanic. There were not enough life boats to save all the passengers. In addition, most of the life boats were not filled to capacity when lowered. People had believed the prideful claims that the Titanic was “unsinkable” and that “God Himself could not sink the Titanic.” It was a bitterly cold night on April 14, 1912 when the ship hit the iceberg. No one wanted to go out on the deck of a ship that was unsinkable, not to mention being lowered onto the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They wanted to stay in their cozy warm beds on the warm and spectacular luxury liner. Comfort and possessions cost many passengers their lives when the Titanic sank in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912.
Similarly, many people did not want to evacuate Florida in the days prior to September 10, 2017. They wanted to “ride out the storm” in their homes. They were concerned about comfort and possessions. Eventually evacuation was mandated.
It is human nature to prefer comfort and to hang onto our stuff, but the cost is too high. Sometimes we must tolerate discomfort and loss in order to gain what is truly valuable. Choosing to commit our lives to Christ and live for him may cost us something, but we gain eternal and abundant life. What is lost is measurable and temporal. What is gained is immeasurable and eternal.
The predominant theme of couples who come for marriage counseling is that their spouse needs to change. The job of the counselor, in their eyes, is to help their spouse change. Sometimes a person will acknowledge that they are not perfect, but quickly add that their spouse’s marital failures far exceed their own. Counseling requires us to leave our comfort zone and place our own baggage on the altar. It is not logical to enter counseling thinking that all the relationship work will be done by our counselor and our spouse. There is little chance of success without both individuals being open to seeing and working on their own issues. People who cannot accept the reality of their own sin and failures are not good candidates for counseling.
The sooner we heed the warning signs of a stormy marriage headed for destruction and disaster, the better the possibility of a favorable outcome. We need to recognize the warning signs and proactively seek wise professional counseling. Don’t cling to your comfort zone of denial and personal rights. Get the help you need for your marriage as soon as possible.
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I Corin. 13:13
In His love,