Guam’s typhoon season runs about the entire time that I’m here, which I always knew, but just got slightly more meaningful last night when this warning came up online. One of the niggling fears in the back of my mind stemmed from leaving my home in safe, boring Pennsylvania and coming to spend typhoon season in typhoon alley. Much as I love the ocean, being surrounded by it’s unpredictable vastness makes me a little nervous. My brother doesn’t help at all when he offhandedly tells me we won’t have power for months.
“Months? Seriously? Stop being dramatic Manny.”
But even if he is exaggerating (which is completely normal) I know that typhoons aren’t a joke and being out of power after a major storm happens all the time. He is out right now buying canned food and filling up the car with gas, even though he says the storm won’t hit for a week. (If it does, in fact, hit us.)
I’ve always been one to have irrational fears of things. Bad guys, for example, terrify me. The dark, monsters, pain, demons, insane people, tsunamis, airplanes, sharks.. I’m just a very fearful person. I do my best to stow it because I know it is ridiculous and I can’t be afraid all the time, but that doesn’t stop my brain from going all sorts of different directions at the slightest noise or the creepy TV show. My method to deal with fear is just to remind myself that God can take care of me (or not) as he chooses and heaven is nothing to be afraid of–then I usually just close my eyes and do whatever it is I have to do.
Sitting on a tiny island waiting to be hit by a huge mindlessly destructive storm is a great faith exercise, giving me another opportunity to let God be sovereign and realize that I have no control over my life. I can only decide what actions I will take, not what circumstance I will be in. I guess this is a reoccurring lesson.
Generally though, the storm never hits. The plane doesn’t crash, the bad guy isn’t waiting in the dark and there aren’t sharks in the water. What would I do if what I was afraid of actually came to pass? Am I just trusting that God will protect me from bodily harm because he has before instead of trusting that even if I do go through a terrifying experience that he will be there with me? I think that a weakness with being a sheltered middle class white American Christian is that I am disillusioned to the realities of pain and suffering, and when I don’t experience them I think that God is protecting me. In reality, I probably won’t really know the protection and loving care of God until he allows me to be in the storm.
Here’s to the next few days of electricity and internet access…