3 O'clock



The Lord's Little Surprises

Our Lord always surprises me.

On Monday morning, August 26, 2019, I turned on the weather channel. A friend alerted me to a hurricane possibly coming our way and making landfall somewhere along the eastern Florida coastline. When and where the hit might happen no one could predict. Immediately, I went shopping and stocked up. While I had a few things still in the hurricane pantry, we recently moved so it was sparse.  

Day by day, the threat grew worse and people began preparing. Grocery stores and home lumber stores quickly sold out of the commodities such a storm would require. By Wednesday, store shelves in our area of town were empty. Bottled water, non-existent. Bread, only the most expensive kind.

Our dilemma: Should we stay in our newly constructed home, surrounded by construction debris of every kind as multiple homes were being built around us, all of which would definitely become dangerous projectiles during high winds, hoping the storm would miss us? Or was it better to leave town before the influx of people sure to clog the major highways heading North out of Orlando should hurricane Dorian come across the entire state?  

The Lord’s first surprise

On August 29, 2019, after much deliberation and prayer, our family decided the safest bet for us was to leave town. The Lord blessed us with the finances to be able to do so. If this storm happened last year, financially this would not have been possible. Also, our trailer, which was not supposed to be out of the repair shop until the following week, was ready to pick up on Friday morning.

The Lord’s second surprise. 

We started brainstorming for a place to go on Thursday evening and the Lord brought to our minds Stone Mountain Georgia, just east of Atlanta. It was a place we visited back in December 2013 and found very peaceful and well kept. However, it was Labor Day weekend and this was a popular spot for the local area so we figured our chances were zero. They opened at 9 a.m. on Friday morning, August 30th,and I started calling at 8:45 a.m. hoping to be the first in line. I was! The computer voice said, “You are first in line.” When the operator came online she said, “Wow, you are in luck! I honestly just had a cancellation.” (How many of you know luck had absolutely nothing to do with it?) I could not say BOOK IT fast enough. Thinking the hurricane would be over by Tuesday we arranged for a noon check out time.

The Lord’s third surprise.

On Tuesday, Sept. 2, things get a bit scary when suddenly out of nowhere comes the third surprise.

With friends and family in parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolina’s we were able to get weather updates. Things take a turn for the worst as predictions of Dorian—downgraded from a CAT 5 to a CAT 4 after destroying the Bahamas—is heading for the coastline of Georgia with high winds expected to reach into Atlanta. WHAT? Remember we are in a travel trailer on the east side of Atlanta; mom, hubby, two large dogs and me. To top that off, we knew Stone Mountain had a big festival coming in so we could only stay in the park until Thursday, Sept 5th. Where would we go after Thursday morning? If we left and headed home, that meant driving home down I75 with possibly high winds and heavy rain bands if this hurricane came even close to Savanah, GA coastline. I began questioning our decision as I walked through a local area Walmart picking up some milk, bread and grits--yep, I LOVE grits and I forgot to pack mine.

I must have been brain dead because I just cannot seem to locate the grits aisle. I am looking aimlessly around when I felt nudged to ask a woman at the end of the aisle if she was local and had any idea where the grits were. She smiled at me and said, “I don’t know because I don’t like grits.” As you can imagine this spurred an entire conversation and as we talked, at least 20 minutes worth, we began to connect on a deeper level. Turns out she is a praying woman and loves Jesus. The Lord must have spoken to her heart because she became very concerned about our family as I told her our situation. She reassured me God was looking after His own and had everything under control, which I obviously needed to hear, and went one-step further. 

Third surprise now! 

She began to strategize how she could help us. She did not want us driving home in bad weather conditions and I could tell she was calculating things in her head. She told me her subdivision had a clubhouse and there was a place in the back that could hold a large trailer about 40’ long. (Our trailer is not that long so good to go there.) She prayed with me, wrote her name and number on a piece of paper, and handed it to me. “You call me. We are going to agree in prayer God will move this hurricane away from here but if He does not, you call me. I will make some contacts today and see what I can do. You do not worry because we are not going to let you drive home in this mess. Okay?” 

Tears swelled in my eyes. It was not the offer of help—which obviously touched me deeply—it was how our God brought two total strangers together—one a long way from home and one sensitive to the leading of the Lord—and connected us on a much deeper level than just a humanitarian one. It was a spiritual connection words could never describe. A connection one has to experience.

We parted with Barbara saying, “You let me know what happens okay? We’ll pray.” After big hugs, we parted, not as strangers who had just met but as life-long friends, we are sure to become.

The Lord’s fourth surprise. 

God held back the storm and we were able to drive home on Thursday. We made it safe-and-sound with no bad weather very little traffic. I called Barbara Thursday evening. She was genuinely thankful I did. I could feel it in her Spirit and I hope she could feel it in mine. We are making plans to meet up in November when she comes to Orlando for a visit. I am excited!

Always loving our Lord and all of you,

Lori Robbins

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