ERROL CASTENS: Action and faith are compatible partners

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

Roger and I were sitting in my living room, watching the storms move through. Roberta and Sue had each retired for the evening.
The weather radio was cocked and locked and the TV was wall-to-wall radar. Roger had just returned from downstairs to put some blankets and pillows in the basement corner that operates as a joint storm shelter for both households.
I confessed that I’m sometimes perplexed by how much caution is OK before it becomes faithlessness.
“The girls are apparently quite willing to ‘consider the lilies,’” I said. “They’re going to sleep right through all this if we let them.”
The radio screeched a new alarm for our county, but the TV showed it tracking south of us.
“The Lord promises to take care of us,” Roger said. “Sometimes it’s by sparing us from tragedy, sometimes walking us through it and someday for sure in letting our lives end.”
I expounded how I want to be able to “consider the lilies” and never worry, but how I also want to protect my family to whatever extent I can. It seems I’m just wired, I told him, to be concerned about safety and security.
“Scripture tells us that not to provide for our families is to deny the faith,” Roger said. “I’d take that to include providing for safety. The question is how much of the equation is in our hands.”
I must have looked puzzled until Roger reminded me of a scripture I’d read often.
“Proverbs 22:3 says, ‘The prudent sees danger and hides himself,’” he said. “That doesn’t mean anyone hurt by a natural disaster did something wrong, but we’re encouraged to meet the challenges in our lives with prudence.
“A wealthy family may be reasonable in building a couple of well-equipped, reinforced, underground rooms so they can hunker down in complete comfort,” Roger said. “For some of us, a corner of the basement is reasonable if not as convenient. Some can only get out of an unsafe place and go to a shelter if there’s sufficient warning.”
“It wouldn’t be prudent to forgo insurance to buy a storm shelter or to ride on bad tires to afford a case of survival food,” I mused. “But what about staying up all night to watch the weather?”
“Generations ago it might have been an act of faith for a family to try to sleep through stormy weather,” he said. “But I fail to see how it is a faithless act to use Doppler radar any more than it is to use penicillin.”
We watched TV for a while before the weatherman pointed out a tornado headed our way. It was time to get the girls to the basement.
“Someone said, ‘Work like it all depends on you,’” Roger said as we rushed down the hall. “‘Pray like it all depends on God.’”

Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@journalinc.com.