Hurricane Florence is battering the eastern coast of the U.S. There were necessary preparations and evacuations in the Carolinas. There will be a great cost and effort to rebuild after the storm passes. Tragically, some lives may even be lost. Whether natural disasters or trials cause by the sinfulness of man, we are faced with the truth that we live in a fallen world. Yet it is a world into which God has come with His redeeming love. It’s hard to see that love in the midst of the storm, but it is there. It is seen in the lives of people who give aid. Ultimately, it will be seen in the fulfilled promise of God making all things new. At one of the most critical and frightening times in the lives of His disciples Jesus said to them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”(John 14:27) We may lose property. We may even lose physical life. But we cannot lose the love of God who will make all things new.
Good Morning, and apologies for missing the last two days of sending out GM. We were caught by the ice storm in the mid Atlantic states that took out power to a good part of Frederick County and many other areas. We got a little chilly but were otherwise fine. Such an event proves just how dependent we’ve become on the outside systems we’ve created. Jesus said that “man does not live by bread alone.” We know that. It is God’s Word of truth that brings us true life. However, such days as we have just had make us realize that we are dependent upon electricity, water, supermarkets, Walmarts, and increasing on the government to sustain our lives. All of these things we take fore granted as a normal part of modern life, but they can be taken away very quickly as we have seen with many disasters that have occurred around the globe. I wish it were not so, but it is. We realize again that there is only one unchangeable source of hope, the Lord Jesus Christ. We may have to suffer various trials in this world we’ve made, but the Lord is still here, and will see us through.
In the aftermath of the recent storm, clichés like “every cloud has a silver lining” are useless and even hurtful. No one sees or believes in a silver lining in the midst of the pain and loss of a disaster. As we’ve said, there are no good answers to the why questions, but there is hope in the Lord. There were many terrible times reported in our Old Testament scriptures, wars, famine, disease and more. God was not absent from any of them. His desire is always that hearts be turned back to Him. There are really only two choices in any tragedy, to “curse God and die” (internally if not physically) as Job’s wife counseled him,(Job 2:9) or as Job responded, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.”(13:15) The psalmists record many troubles, but their response is as in Psalm 73: “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (vss.21-26)
Whenever there is a natural disaster as there was last night with the storm that hit the east coast, some will question where is God? Is he a God far off who doesn’t care about the affairs of men? Are these just natural disasters that have nothing to do with God? If God is loving, why does he permit such death and destruction? Jesus, who stilled the storm on Galilee, couldn’t he have stilled this one? We must first say that God is not far off. He does know and care about all that touches his creation. But even as he answered Job, some things must be left in his sovereign hands. We, who are steeped in logic and rational answers, don’t really like that, but a reason to our “why” questions would be of little help anyway. What we need to see is God’s hand of mercy in the places where things could have been much worse. We need to recognize God’s hand of help through the neighbors and friends who work together to save. We see that life is more valuable than property, and even where life is taken God’s hand is there. Our “why” questions will not be answered until eternity. We are called now to a deeper trust in our Lord, and the strength of our Lord to let his love show through us to others.
Everyone is preparing for the megastorm coming up the east coast of the U.S. Weather men are reporting the track of the storm, predicting wind velocity, rain and even snow amounts to watch out for. We’ve seen pictures of the damage the storm has done in the Caribbean Islands. People are stocking up on supplies. All the electric generators in area stores have been sold. Certainly these preparations are necessary, and we do hope that there is no loss of life, and property damage is not extensive. These warnings and preparations have been going on since the storm was first reported in the south Atlantic, as well as the one coming in from the north. We observe these signs, and heed these warnings very carefully, but Scripture has given us other signs and warnings to which we pay little attention. Jesus said to His people, “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”(Matthew 16:3) Jesus preached, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Maybe we should be more concerned about the spiritual signs of the times. We confess and believe that Jesus will come again. “Oh, but that could be hundreds of years yet.” Maybe. Maybe not.
The cleanup has begun in the aftermath of hurricane Irene this past weekend. There were many preparations before the storm, and mass evacuations from coastal areas. Because of all the warnings there was a small loss of life. Yet, a few of the deaths were due to the foolishness of ignoring the warnings and trying to defy the storm. This is sad, but points again to the stubborn and foolish nature of some people. But this really is a characteristic in all of us to one degree or another. It is part of our sinful nature. There are warnings, or we might rather say guidance, throughout Holy Scripture of the best way for us to live. When we choose to ignore the plan of our Creator we find pain, heartache, and death. We may feel that some of the storm warnings were over reactions and unnecessary, but they were not. They were intended for our safety and well being. How much more should we heed the warnings of the one true God who made us.