When I think of Hurricane Irene now on the morning after, with my “cup half empty,” I am regretful that we canceled our church service today. That decision was really out of my hands, however, because the building where we meet was closed and a number of families said they would not be coming anyway, or at least didn’t want to. That is very understandable because of the possible flooding, blocked roads, and power outages that we were warned about. But now after the anticlimax of last night (our power didn’t even go off), it seems like this may have been another example of the media “manufacturing news.” I just finished watching Andersoon Cooper on CNN ask his weatherman “What happened to the hurricane?”—he seemed a bit embarrassed or even regretful that it turned out to be more of a speedbump for New York, the city where he was “on location” in his deluxe windbreaker. (But I won’t judge…)
On the other hand, when my “cup is half full,” I can look at it this way: Jesus calmed the storm! It could indeed have been much worse, but he spared us from that by His gracious providence. The weatherman’s answer to Cooper was that North Carolina “got in the way,” meaning that area took the brunt of the hurricane’s force and it diminished after that to a mere tropical storm. And that itself is an illustration of what Jesus did for us on the cross…we still have to face some troubles and trials in this life, but we never have to worry about the horrible hurricane of hell, because He bore that penalty in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 3:10-14, 1 Peter 2:24). So we have many reasons to worship the Lord today, by ourselves or together with our families, which would be especially good to do if your church didn’t have a service! Here are a few suggestions for how you could do that…
Even though the storm did not affect us as badly as was feared, we still had to face our fears of the storm, so you could start by listening to or watching a video for the song “Praise You in this Storm,” by Casting Crowns. You can simple google it to find the audio, or better yet check out one or more of the nice videos for the song on YouTube. Then you could read Luke 8:22-25 and other parallel passages about Jesus calming the storm, and listen to my friend Dyke Habegger’s message on those verses, appropriately called “Jesus Calms the Storm.” The message can be found under July 13 on this page: http://www.faithchurchpca.net/sermons_2008.html. Finally, spend some time in prayer, thanking God for His gracious providence that keeps us from disaster in this world, and His gracious provision of Christ that keeps us from ruin in the next. And ask God to give you the opportunity to be His “hands and feet” to provide help and hope for others, both physically and spiritually. Pray for those you know who have needs in one or both of those areas.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).