Praise God anyway- We gonna be alright!

Published 2:53 pm Friday, October 19, 2018

Last Wednesday when the hurricane roared through our communities, images were imprinted into our minds that will forever reside there.  Even those who have lived many more years than I have had no recollection of anything like that coming through this area before.  I spoke to a gentleman who, even though he will soon be ninety-two years old, has a memory as sharp as most that are only half his age.  When I asked him if he recalled any such event here before he replied that he never had.  Hopefully it will be a once in a lifetime storm for all of us.

I do not have adequate words to describe my deep emotions when I finally stepped outside on Thursday morning to survey the consequences of the previous brutal hours. 

I longed for daylight to break the eerie thickness that the darkness of the night seemed to possess.  What I beheld when Gale and I walked about our little place was heart wrenching; it had the appearance of hopelessness, yet I knew without a doubt that we always have hope when we allow God to guide us through the hardships of life.  After a little time to get over the initial shock of it all, it was apparent that nothing was damaged or destroyed that could not be repaired or replaced.  And even if there happened to be anything that could not be repaired or replaced, life would still be able to continue.

Even at this early stage of their lives the grandchildren started to reminisce when they noticed that an old tree in the backyard of the church had been toppled over by the wind.  They were heard discussing that they would not be able to play under that tree anymore; it was around that tree that they had had lots of fun during VBS, fall festivals, and many other events.  It was near that old tree that we buried a deceased squirrel that Anna Beth found out near the road (when I promised to bury the creature for them after church I did not know that they would ask for a full funeral!).  Not only did the tree become a place to entertain the kids, it was also used as a shade while food was cooking on the grill and it provided a perfect place for the adults to sit back and relax as the children played.  Such simple things are much bigger blessings from God than we usually take time to realize.

We all probably have memories of things that the storm took away or permanently altered, and many of our communities might never look quite the same again.  We might even have lots of questions for which no clear answer can be obtained.  Why did some properties suffer devastating damage while others nearby sustained no damage at all?  In such times we would do well to recall the words of Christ found in Matthew 5:  “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (verse 45, New International Version).  Sometimes we just have to take the bad as well as the good.

Much can be learned during the challenges of life and I hope our recent experiences have served that purpose.  Maybe we have realized afresh how precious life is and how quickly our lives can be changed.  And perhaps we have realized that too often we take far too much for granted.  As we continue to emerge from the rubble we can see in our communities the priceless value of working together, helping each other, and watching impossible tasks being achieved.  Psalm 146:5 is an encouraging reminder as we tread through the hard places of life:  “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord His God.”