I pray that those who read this have fared well through Ike. The destruction and devastation were wide-spread, even Canada felt the effects I understand (we get only local information, which is understandable). Our house had minimal damage, our power came back on Sept 16th about 6:20pm. We thank God for that and realize we just happen to be ones that have an easier recovery process.
As we made our way through the 90 hours without power we discovered a variety of blessings. First, we must thank God for cooler weather. How amazing it has been to be so comfortable in the Houston area after a storm! The most significant “benefit” to the storm has been getting to know our neighbors. It has become so easy for us to keep to ourselves these days – I blame the invention of the garage door opener. Since we have been without power and the weather has been cool, we’ve been spending time out in the driveway cooking on the grill and talking with neighbors as the kids play. I have mentioned to some that I think it may be that God allows some of these devastating situations in order to move us beyond ourselves. In our neighborhood it was simply being in touch with our neighbors. For others it has been more labor-intensive as neighbors have been working together to move fences and cut down trees. The community seems to be moving in the direction of really being community – I think God is glad for that. Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe God made this happen. However, I do believe God could see it coming and allowed it to come our way for reasons only he may know. When I look at the results of what’s happening around our neighborhoods, I wonder if one reason God allowed this to happen is to move us back into a closer connection with others, showing us how much we need each other, and giving us a chance to care for others.
On Sunday there were about 30 people who gathered at Asbury to pray and worship God. We gave thanks for what we did not have to face and prayed for those who faced much more. We talked about Psalm 22. It begins: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” You may recognize those words as the ones spoken by Jesus on the cross. Somehave wondered if Jesus was quoting that Psalm, and if you read it you can see why – I’ll leave that to you, homework for the week. The other thing you find in this Psalm is the cry of one who feels overwhelmed followed by words of faith and trust that God will ultimately prevail in their life. The Psalmist declares that they will declare God’s praise for who God is and let others know that even in the midst of great difficulty God will see us through to a new place. That’s what Jesus believed, what he knew, and what he would experience on that Sunday morning following the Friday he hung on the cross.
I took comfort from this Psalm and this truth. God will bring new life, new possibilities out of the greatest difficulties. Ultimately God will transform suffering into glory. We need to know that. We need to let others know that also. So, when talking with your neighbors let them know what you know – God brings new life out of great difficulty, out of chaos God created the universe and He can create a new reality for us as well. It’s just a good time to show God’s love and let people know that you believe as Jesus did – God will ultimately prevail and bring new life to those who are willing to trust him.
May you know peace after the storm, Mike