I have been slack in my duty, but it is time to get to work. I apologise for my sloth, and not making time. Hurricane Ike has been part of the more recent inactivity (we were without light for a wee bit), and hurricane Ike suggests the topic.
We have discussed disasters before, and I hope that everyone is clear on what the Tanakh says about such things. God does judge the nations. Let their be no doubt about it, God does judge, and their will be a judgment day in the future.
But let us look at hurricanes and related problems. First, let us be aware, many who lost out to the hurricane, lost through their own lack of forsight. For some strange reason, more people live on the coast here than did at the time of the last major hurricane some 25 years ago. Do we not learn from mistakes made in the past. Remember what George Santayana said many years ago, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
Anyway, we can divide those affected by the hurricane into several groups.
1) Those killed by the hurricane: Now were these people any more evil than any others around them? Of course not. They just refused to believe that the storm was going to be as bad as it was, and paid the price. This is just like the Christian who dabbles in sin, and thinks they won't get burned. Let us pay attention. The Bible warns us about sin. Christian pastors who dabble in sin, are invarialbley found out, and eventually come tumbling down. Let us not be foolish, but let us be sensible
2)Those who lost everything: Again, just as we don't dabble with nature, let us not dabble in sin. It is dangerous. Anytime we begin any work, whether buying or building a house, or a new spiritual venture, we should ask God, and we should ask other Christians, and we should investigate. God does not guarantee to protect us if we do wrong or silly things. On the other hand, I saw a home right between two destroyed homes. It had flood damage, but was intact. The owner made sure he had built his house on a rock. It was solid with good foundations and straps. There was damage, but not disaster. If we live in areas of spiritual danger, we need to be prepared, by standing firm on the Rock (Yeshua) and living by his word.
3) Those who had flood damage: Here we have a divided group. Our neighbout had flood damage from rain. The owners of her house did not have the roof fixed, so she suffered. Other people had flood damge, but it was minor. Othters lost most everything in the house. Some lost it from ignorance. I talked to one lady who owned a house my parents owned some forty-one years previously. She told me it had never flooded before, and I corrected her on that. It flooded during hurricane Carla, in 1961, a storm I remember well. Others lost nothing to flood damage. There houses were on stilts or elevated in some way. What do we learn? Some people suffer from their own sins, while others suffer from the sins of others. Remember sin, is like a rock thrown in a pond. The ripples go out to the edge, such is the effect of sin. I might add, in our house we moved everthing important to the second floor, just in case.
4)Those who were inconventienced: Some of us think we have to have electricity, telephone, internte to survive. Its just not so. We were briefly without power, (four days) and others have been out two weeks. The good Lord sent us real fall weather (something that rarely hits the Texas Coast before October) and the A/C wasn't needed. We cooked on the grill, kept ice in the freezer, and survived without telephone, electricity or internet. Here in the US, we do not like to be inconvenienced. It is sad, but one of the main reasons we do not follow God, is it is inconvenient. Inconvenient to go help our neighbour. Inconvenient to go help out at the homeless mission, inconvenient to talk to others about the Messiah. We need to learn how to rejoice and be thankful for the good things we have. I can tell you, I was truly thankful when I drove up to my house and found very little damage, after being told I couldn't get to my house because the moving water was too dangerous to go through. We also need to learn to tell others what God has done and is doing for us and in our lives. God promises we will be blessed. He does not promise us earthly riches, but heavenly riches, and we should share those riches with all the world.
As John Heywood has told us, "It is truly an ill wind which blows nobody any good," there were some good things that came out of Ike. On a personal note, I am no longer worried about a storm surge, because I observed houses similar to mine and how they stood up (we'll still move stuff upstairs). I can deal with repairs. On a more universal note, no lights, no phone, problems and difficulties have led to neighbours acting like neighbours to each other, which is truly a blessing in this land where few people have time for one another. I have spent more time visiting and doing other things with neighbours and getting to know them. There have been more opportunities to reach out and show God's love, especially as a pastor, being there to listen.
May God grant you shalom,
+Mar Michael Abportus