Dear Family and Friends:
It was too late to leave. Governor Jeb Bush had already stated, in a special radio address, that it was time to forget about flight and seek shelter. Hurricane Charley was approaching Orlando at 18mph, and the eye was nearly the width of the narrow waist of the state of Florida . Cindy and I had no experience with hurricanes before Friday, August 13, so we prepared as well as we could. “D” size batteries and most of the quality flashlights were not available for days. Our nearly ¼ mile-long driveway, shaded with untended trees, seemed a hazard, so we parked one vehicle a half-mile away at a church. Then we settled down to wait, make a few calls and watch our computer screen with interest as the reports came in about the status of the storm and its projected path.
Charley tore through Orlando about 10:00pm, later than expected, with sustained winds of 80+mph and gusts over 100mph. The lights went out early, when it was barely raining. We put bedding in an interior hallway, said a prayer together and awaited the drama. “We have made our preparations, Lord,” I said, “but we don’t trust in them. As powerful as the storm may be, you are far more powerful. You are in charge of everything that happens to us, and so we trust only in you, and in your love.” I wanted to express our confidence in God’s sovereignty in an uncomplicated way, because I knew it was likely that the children might shortly experience some confusing and complicated events. Emily and Luke did very well, considering the situation – although Luke claimed he needed a breathing treatment (perhaps fear was tightening his chest a little), his breathing was fine and he and Emily relaxed after a while and were sleeping soundly by the time the hurricane was through. Jan Felton was also here to endure the hurricane and it delayed her flight out to Tennessee by 2 days.
I recently overheard LINC-Net’s Director, Allan Beeber , express to a concerned caller, “If I know I’m where God wants me to be, I can just be in the bottom of the boat with Jesus during the storm.” By contrast, it is not faith, but fatalism, that is the opposite of anxiety. Fatalism is carelessness, resignation to an unknown but assumedly predetermined fate. Both anxiety and fatalism are harmful and equally removed from Biblical faith. Biblical faith is complete trust in God who is known through both revelation and experience:
“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell? Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” (Pr. 30:4-5)
Trust in God in no way conflicts with preparation. As both Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12 say, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” An example is Allan’s leadership of Campus Crusade’s Y2K preparedness, which enabled Computer Services to avoid down-time during the whole Charley experience, although the complex was without power for five days.
The home where we are staying, with co-workers Jim and Dana Kalac, was without electricity for nine days. (That’s no A/C, hot water, and limited cell-phone usage for nine sticky, Orlando August days!) We finally decided to stay with family in Aiken , SC after six days of near-110-degree heat index. Jim and Dana lent us a car power transformer and we were able to give Luke some breathing treatments for his asthma in the cool air conditioned car. The heat and vegetation that the hurricane stirred up had caused him to break out all over. Allergic reactions can lead to asthma attacks for him, so we felt it was wise to keep him inside and take him to a cooler home.
Ultimately, as the stories continue to come in about the devastation, our concerns were minor and a little petty. It’s not overstating the case to say that God’s hand of protection was over us. The houses on either side of us had significant damage from fallen trees. Although the long shared driveway still has tangled branches on either side, you’d never know the Kalac home had been through a hurricane. Even after twelve days of work, front-end loaders are still being used on either side of our place, while all the Kalac grounds needed was a good raking afterwards.
Please remember the other LINC-Net team members, who had damage ranging from a few missing shingles or tiles to whole chimneys being torn off the house. Please pray for God’s provision, since hurricane deductibles can be as high as 10% of insured value in Orlando .
We want to express thanks and praise to God for His physical (and financial!) protection, for Luke’s health, for a smooth escrow so far on our CA house, for Janice Felton’s stay with us and safe travel to Tennessee to visit relatives. Thank you so much for your prayers for these requests.