Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Frankenstorm


The storm is over, the recovery has only just begun. We experienced on the east coast a storm like no other.  We broke the record for the lowest barometer pressure ever recorded.  Flooding at our shore towns was historic and devastating.  Millions still remain without electricity with the prospect of days to weeks before it is restored.  Businesses and livelihoods were blown into the sea.  Lives have been lost and many others need to put the pieces of their lives back together again.  This is all the result of a freak and powerful storm named Frankenstorm where a hurricane was wrapped with a nor'easter and guided by a high pressure region right into the New Jersey coastline.  The odds of all of those things coinciding was probably a one in a million chance, but we all know that sometimes that one in the one in a million comes to be. 

Today is not the time to use this tragedy as an illustration for the many spiritual lessons that will come from this storm, today is the day for the storm it self.  It is not an illustration, it is a reality many are living with.  Now is also not the time to get preachy about global warming or building houses by the ocean, but it is time to help those whose lives have just been ruined.  Today is not a message but a call for prayer and for service.  This is a time when many are looking for God for answers and for help. 

I do not have much to write today except to say that today everyone is our neighbor.  Over the coming days, funds will be set up, needs will become more apparent, and the despair of many will grow as the shock wears off and current reality comes into focus.  Many are out of work, many are homeless, and many are not allowed to return to their homes to even see if it is still there.  Considering this kind of devastation is unprecedented, no one has lived through this before.  The first thing we need to do is pray.  We need to pray for their comfort, for their provision, for their safety, and even more for their salvation.  Coming through a tragedy such as this without God is a terrible place to be.  Without the hope of a God who promises to get us through and without the hope of the promise of an eternal life to come, it will be so much harder to even consider what just happened.  Without God, there is nothing to anchor your hope on in these trying times. 

Prayer is only the beginning, though.  While prayer is the first and most important thing we can do, it is not the only thing we should do.  Prayer is not just asking God to do things for other people, but to give you things to do as well.  It is not just a list of requests, but it is also reporting for duty.  Brothers and sisters, it is time to report for duty.  It may be as simple as spending more time as an intercessor or sending in some money or it may mean taking people in who have lost their home.  It may even mean helping to rebuild a home that was lost.  No matter what, this storm was so big that there is not one of who us who is not touched or knows someone who was touched by this storm.  For many of us, it is both.  For all of us, as God gives us comfort and hope, it is for us to pay that comfort and home forward to those who are reaching out.  As God provides for our recovery, it is for us to help others recover.  I urge you, pray for those suffering and hurting but also ask God what He would have you to do.  The Bible is absolutely clear that God loves to use His children acting in obedience to be the vessels to answer the prayers of others.  I will end with the parable of the Good Samaritan as that is the example we are to follow, especially in times like this. 
"But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. o he went to [him] and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave [them] to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.' So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."   Luke 10:33-37 NKJV

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