Friday, September 12, 2008

I don't like Ike!

OK, so this isn't the most original title, but I did want to post a word of encouragement to those facing down yet another hurricane. I know many of you are hurricane-weary and I have heard the fatigue, and even fear, in people's voices as they talk about the prospect of being without power for another extended length of time. That's not something I look forward to either, to be truthful. But in spite of the storm, I know we have a hope that is fixed and sure.

In the Bible there was a group men who were mighty warriors. They were superior marksmen, members of the NBAA (National Bow and Arrow Association, a forerunner to the modern-day NRA - ok, I just made that up! ),  and their bravery was uncontested. Their valor on the battle-field earned them the deep respect and admiration of their peers. 

Interestingly, these military models of masculinity had a softer side - they loved to write music! And over the years their songs became recorded in an ancient text so that they are now more known for their songs than for their military exploits. One of their songs is recorded in Psalm 46, a song of the "sons of Kohath". Listen to it translated into English from the New Living Translation:

1 God is our refuge and strength,
  always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come
  and the mountains crumble into the sea.
3 Let the oceans roar and foam.
  Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!    Interlude

4 A river brings joy to the city of our God,
  the sacred home of the Most High.
5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.
  From the very break of day, God will protect it.
6 The nations are in chaos,
  and their kingdoms crumble!
God's voice thunders,
  and the earth melts!
7 The LORD of Heaven's Armies is here among us;
  the God of Israel* is our fortress.    Interlude

These men had faced trouble. They knew what warfare was like. They had also seen natural disasters. And yet, their hope, their confidence, their bravado was not based in their military might, their sophisticated strategies or even their technological advances. Their refuge and their strength was God Himself. Though the earth shook, though the mountains quaked, though the ocean foamed and roared, they would not fear for the Lord Himself was their fortress.

The ocean is definitely shaking and quaking, rocking and rolling. There will be a lot of devastation. And there will be some failures in our technology, planning and preparation. Our leaders are doing the best they can - but they're tired and they're human. Times like these remind us that we can't control everything - in fact, we're in control of a whole lot less than we think. We need to hang onto something bigger than us. I hang on to my faith that God is in control, especially when I'm not. Especially when I'm not.

BTW, for my Christian Challenge readers, on Sunday we're going to have a Disaster Response Survey in the bulletin. I look forward to your responses. The Lord is giving us many great opportunities to serve our community. Let us continue to let our light shine in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5:16)


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