I bet you didn’t realize you knew so many people in Florida. Go through your contact list; you’ll be surprised.
A quick and very incomplete look at our Catch list reveals Bare & Mellissa; June & Paul, and children Winter, and Isabella and their pets; Merv & Nicki; Sandie & Bobbie; Marti’s brother, Mark, his dog, Taz, and his son and wife, Chad & Jenna; and then there’s Donna, Hazel, Tami, Kathy & Robert, Tammy, Rosemary, Tracey, John, Gordon, Alan, George, Jan, Joy, Sandra, Darryl, Stephen, Arthur, Serena, Beth & Roger, Camille, John and Edward. All these people woke up to an unstable world this morning — not knowing what they would find as the light of day dawned on their watery world. Some of them, I’m sure, were not even in their homes, and won’t find out until they can return if their home survived with or without damage.
Natural disasters such as the ones that have disrupted normal life for so many lately in the Houston area, Florida, Oregon, Washington, California and Mexico are so stressful and unsettling. Yet, not to belittle the devastation, they always do have positive benefits even to those of us who can only imagine how a similar thing could happen to us.
Three things I can think of that events such as these teach us:
1. How little we are, and how much we depend on the Lord. Storms have always been euphemisms for the power of God. That power benefits us, but can also harm us. Why He brings us harm is not always easy to grasp, but the end result is to get us to a place of submission to His perfect will, whatever that might be. It’s from the Book of Job in the Bible — the story of a man who lost everything — that we receive statements such as: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” This is a statement not of resignation, but of spiritual maturity.
2. How much we depend on each other. Natural disasters always throw us together as human beings and shake us up to where we are forced to rely on friends and even strangers. Some meet neighbors for the first time. There will be many new friends created by long hours trapped in a shelter or the lobby of a hotel. Like Glen Sinatra, who in the lobby of the Hampton Inn in Estero, Florida, met, for the first time, the hospice nurse who had held his wife’s hand as she died.
3. And finally, we find out what’s really important, and what’s important are human life and relationships. Families who have lost everything in a fire cling to each other more in the realization that in spite of their loss, they are safe, and they still have each other, and as hard as it might be, they will start over. Material possessions can be replaced and will eventually all burn up anyway; relationships with God and each other are eternal.
If you are from any of these areas and you have a story to tell about an experience you had or what you learned, or maybe the pain is too intense to learn anything yet, in which case we can pray for you, send us an email so we can share your story that others may benefit.