Thursday, November 1, 2012

Frankenstorm Revisited

It is hard to find something to write about today.  I wanted to do a personal update, but I feel that would be a little too self-indulgent when so many people that I know are really struggling right now.  The nights are getting colder and millions, including friends and coworkers and even my own parents are still in the dark with no end in site.  For some, it will be today, for others seven days, for others still even seven more days, and for some unfortunate few, there just is no estimate whatsoever.  I remember back in June when our area was hit with a derecho where we faced 75-100mph winds for about sixty straight minutes.  Just as our part of New Jersey was wrecked, so are the more northern parts today.  Just as we made it through, so will the rest of the state.  I know those who live at the shore have even more challenges as many no longer even have a home to power.  Even for them, though, this will eventually be behind them. 

This is why I was so emphatic yesterday on Christians being of service during this time.  People are scared, hopeless, angry, hurting, and desperate.  Some are struggling without power not knowing when life will get back to normal and others have no normal life to go to with their homes, businesses, and places of employment completely destroyed.  No one could have imagined the damage this storm produced and for many nothing more could have been done to prepare.  Universal destruction is something one can not really prepare for other than to just find a safe place during it and then try to rebuild after it.  That is where many are right now. 

The message I want to get out today, though, is that life will go on.  If you are without power, it will come back on.  For many it will be on in a matter of days and for others maybe a little longer.  I know there are a rare few that will not see power for several weeks, but it will all come back.  What seems dark now will just be one of the many stories about Sandy you will share for years to come.  If you are Christian, what a great chance you have to minister to your friends and neighbors.  It is time you get out of the house and do that old-fashioned thing called "talking" and in person and to actual people.  If there is one thing I know about a blackout, it can be extremely boring.  People will be happy with anything to pass the time.  Get to know your neighbors, ask if you can pray for them, find an opportunity to share Jesus with word and deed.  When you are not doing that, and you can't watch television or spend hours on the internet or playing video games, read your Bible and take time to pray.  Those distractions that keep you do not exist in your life right now.  Do not look at what you do not have, but appreciate the good in what you do have.  Ask God how He can use even this for His glory.  Ask God how He can use you. 

Of course, for many, the lack of electricity is the least of their problems.  Many have lost cars, jobs, businesses, homes, loved ones, and any combination of that list.  For many, Sandy has left an indelible mark on their lives.  If you are a Christian, I urge you to keep your hope in the One who can and will get you through.  God is not having you go through this just for the sake of going through it, but He has a purpose.  Remember that God promises to work all things together for good.  All things means all things, even unprecedented storms.  It is easy to go into a woe-is-me mindset and discouragement seems to be the natural reaction.  I urge you to fight that temptation.  Focus on the One who will get you through this devastation not on the devastation itself.  I know that sometimes words are easier said than done.  I know that knowing the Christian response and living it are two different things.  I know how hard or even impossible it can seem.  If that is your case, then make that your prayer.  If you can not rejoice in this trial then confess that to God. If you can not see the hope, share that with God.  God can do amazing things in your heart, but sometimes the first step is confessing that need.  Even in your circumstances, though, you can be a blessing and a light to others.  God can and will equip you to be the rock that anchors others falling deeper into despair. God can and will equip and use you to give you the hope that acts as a light to others reaching out for any kind of hope.  You can be share the love of Jesus even in this calamity and sharing that love and faith in these times especially is such an awesome witness to those who do not believe.  I know it is hard to see opportunity to bless others when you have such a need to be blessed yourself, but believe me when I tell you that being that blessing for others will become that blessing for you. 

That is the point I want to bring home today.   It is really the same message of yesterday.  We have a God who promises to work this for our good.  We have a God who wants to use us to bless others.  Anchor yourself to that promise and do not let the rest drag you down.  Be encouraged that even though this may be the worst that many of us will ever live through, God can and will do great and amazing things through us.  I will close with the scripture I have been alluding to.  Repeat it to yourself, write it on your heart, and believe with all your heart that every word is true.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose.  Romans 8:28 NKJV

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