Stand By Me

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2, NRSV)

My brain knows that the hurricane season ends on November 30. But I always assume that if we make it to mid-October that we are in the clear, so to speak. So, when the Tropical Storm/Hurricane/Severe Storm/Coastal Flood watches and warnings started pouring in this past weekend, my only response was: “well, it is 2020 after all.”

When I awakened yesterday morning to the sounds of wind, rain, more warning alerts, and text messages from friends, family, and colleagues from around the country checking on me, I realized that yet again, Tropical Storm Eta had not truly departed our company. And pretty much had the same response.

Charles Albert Tindley was born in Berlin, Maryland on July 7, 1851. His father was a slave, and his mother was free. In his Book of Sermons (1932), he speaks of being “hired out” as a young boy, “wherever Father could place me.” In addition to being a pastor who grew his congregation to over 10,000 members, Rev. Tindley was also a prolific hymn writer. The first verse of his best-known hymn has been in my heart this week:

When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me,
When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me,
When the world is tossing me
Like a ship upon the sea;
Thou who rulest wind and water,
Stand by me.

Tropical Storm Eta has been a unique storm. Forecasters struggle to pin down its path. It continues to attack Florida in multiple locations but seems to have a propensity for Southwest Florida. It is a record-breaking, late-forming storm.

Yet as the storm rages, God is with us. As COVID-19 rages in our county and in our nation, God is with us. As divisive politics rage, God is with us. As frustration over social distancing rages, God is with us. As uncertainty and doubt rage, God is with us.

Let us never forget that.

Rev. Dr. Dawson B. Taylor
Senior Minister

Prayer Focus: First responders who are ready to respond during crisis

Prayer: Thou who rulest wind and water, stand with us when the storms of life rage. Amen.