CNN is referring to the approaching Hurricane Florence as a “Mike Tyson punch” to the Carolina coast. And now Georgia, too.
Residents are being told Wednesday that it’s their last chance to evacuate ahead of a “life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds and inundating rain” as the Category 4 hurricane — one of the strongest in decades to hit the region — is expected to start letting its fury be felt by noon Thursday.
CNN is also calling it “a beast like no other,” either being overly dramatic about how powerful the storm will be or accurately describing its devastating potential — no one will know until it hits.
FEMA Administrator Brock Long seems to agree with that dire characterization, warning people still on that coast that a "storm surge has the highest potential to kill the most amount of people. It also has the highest potential to cause the most destruction."
And it’s not just the coast that’s in trouble, he added, saying, "With this storm, what's unique is it's forecast to stall ... dropping copious amounts of rainfall across the Carolinas and into Virginia. So this is not just going to be a coastal threat. It's a statewide threat for the states involved."
That’s why Dr. Robert Jeffress, the well-known pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas and a President Trump spiritual adviser, is asking the congregation of his 13,000-member church — as well as believers everywhere — to pray for those in the path of the storm.
“On behalf of all of us at First Baptist Dallas and Pathway to Victory, I call on Christians everywhere to join me in praying for those facing this deadly storm, both for the residents and for the first responders whose job is to run toward danger,” Jeffress urged in a statement published on his church’s website.
Some Christians have been mocked for praying that the storm will shift course, but Jeffress prayed for comfort and endurance for those who would be hit by it when it makes landfall.
“Pray for their protection from wind, storm surges, floods and their effects. Pray for their safety as they evacuate and for their strength when they return. Pray that God will replace their anxiety with the peace that passes all understanding. And pray that they will feel the Father’s nearness to them, for ‘the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,’” he continued, paraphrasing Psalm 34:18.
He added another spiritual element, saying, “I also want to offer a special word to those confronting the fury of these storms. Every storm that comes into your life is designed by God for a great purpose — the strengthening of your faith. However, it is important to understand that Satan desires to use the very same storm to destroy your life.”
Acknowledging that bad things can happen to people even when they pray for safety, Jeffress reminded Christians that even though God does not promise to always steer hardship away from His children, He has promised to always be with them as they go through it.
“With every storm also comes a promise: God will safely deliver us through the storm to the other side, just as He delivered the disciples,” he concluded, paraphrasing Luke 8:22-25. “God does not always promise to deliver us out of the storm, but He promises to lead us through the storm as He declared in Isaiah 43:2, ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.’”
Further south in Georgia, the governor there has also declared a state of emergency as it appears Florence will deliver a hammering blow there as well, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Will you join us in prayer?