Wednesday, September 13, 2017

FIRST-PERSON: Despite wind, rain & floods, what can we learn?

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FIRST-PERSON: Despite wind, rain & floods, what can we learn?

DULUTH, GA. (BP) -- My heart goes out to all those severely impacted by the hurricanes that have swept through the Caribbean and onto the U.S. mainland. Harvey, Irma and the consequent tornados have wrought havoc in Texas, Florida and some contiguous states.

We certainly can lament the howling winds, torrential rain and flooding ask, "Why has this befallen us?" We can agonize about damaged property and dwell on the loss of public services and the daunting problem of cleaning up after the storm.

But what about the lessons we can learn from a hurricane? Consider, for example:

Hurricanes can teach us that we are not in control.

No human power can control the wind and waves. However, we know Jesus calmed a storm. Three of the Gospels tell us that story. Jesus was weary and had gone to sleep in the midst of the storm, but the disciples, some of whom were professional fishermen, were frightened by the storm and feared they might die.

However, with one quick word from Christ, the storm abated and the sea became calm. This should be immensely comforting to the Christian in a storm. Faith in Christ is never misplaced; if He can calm the storms of the sea with one word, He can calm the storms of life as well.

You might ask, "If God is in control then why does He allow bad things to happen?" Though it is within the Lord's power to give everyone a perfect existence, that wouldn't be in our best interest. Trials and suffering often drive people to the Father. And for those of us who are already His followers, God sometimes uses harsh circumstances to mature our faith and conform us to the image of His Son.

Hurricanes can teach us what is important

We live in a materialistic society and to many people it almost seems their "stuff" is more important than life itself. Some people in the path of the hurricanes stated their intention to remain in their homes to make sure their property was protected -- as if they had the power to protect it in the first place.

Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36) Perhaps you have seen bumper stickers that read, "He who dies with the most toys, wins." Nothing could be further from the truth. All the "things" we accumulate in our lives are no more than premature junk.

Jesus said, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harlan Sanders said, "Why would you want to be the richest man in the cemetery? You can't do any business there."

A wise saying goes that money can buy a house, but not a home; food, but not an appetite; medicine, but not wellness; books, but not brains; a bed, but not sleep; amusement, but not happiness; and religion, but not salvation. So, hurricanes can help us realize what is really important.

Hurricanes can teach us that we are in this together.

A prime illustration of this is that President Donald Trump and the Democrat leaders in the Senate struck a deal to provide a relief package to the region devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

The relationship between the president and the Democrats since his inauguration has been like the Hatfields and McCoys. Acrimony, hostility and caustic words mark the relationship. However, the hurricane brought opposing political leaders together to do something good for the country.

A common objective, a common enemy, a common cause has the potential of making rivals into partners, of making adversaries into allies and making foes into friends. I am sorry it took vast and destructive storms to bring us together, but it is good that for at least a while the divided states of America became the United States of America again.

Hurricanes can teach we are to let our lights shine

Jesus urged us to let our light to shine before men (Matthew 5:16). As children we learned the little song, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." We must not hide our light under a bushel, but let it shine especially in times of need.

How will people see that light? Through our good works.

When people are going through a storm they are vulnerable, needy and searching. They need true godly examples before them to shine brightly and offer help, friendship and the hope that transcends the troubles caused by the storm.

Well, I am sure there are other lessons to be learned. Here in the Atlanta area, Irma took out our electricity for a time and I quickly learned anew that I don't love darkness better than light.

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