I guess Angie and I are officially Floridians now. We survived Hurricane Hermine. Life in Kentucky, was about winter storms and tornadoes, not hurricanes. As for the hurricane, winds were fierce, rain was intense, and damage was minor. Our yard (like yours) was covered with debris and branches. As I write this week’s blog post, I’m praying for the many church members and Tallahassee residents still without electrical power.
As you know, I like to make lists. Therefore, I made a few notes about our first hurricane experience. My phone was busy the past few days. Many friends and ministry colleagues checked on us, wanting to know if we were alive, if we were okay, or if we sustained any property damage.
What lessons did we learn and see as a result of Hurricane Hermine?
- The need to prepare. This tropical weather system was in the news for days. Your conversations helped us. The urgent message was to prepare. We needed plenty of water, batteries, and non-perishable food items. I ate a can of Van Camp’s Beanie Weenee this weekend for the first time in a long time. Angie did a good job making sure we were prepared and ready to overcome Hurricane Hermine.
- The danger of procrastination. I watched people wait until the last minute to buy gas, ice, and other hurricane essentials. Procrastination is risky! What if a person waited until it was too late? Paul said, “Today is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). It’s dangerous (and unwise) to procrastinate in the spiritual life. If God asks you to take a step, obey Him. Don’t procrastinate!
- The dedication of leaders. Leadership in influence! Many people have influenced our lives this past week. Emergency responders risked their lives for others; power crews labored long and hard; and government leaders made decisions and received their share of compliments and criticisms. I’m sure many local and state leaders would say, “It takes tough skin and a tender heart to be a leader.” I personally thank the many leaders who served us before, during, and after the hurricane.
- The intensity of storms. As you’ve heard me preach, we all face storms. You and I live life in one of three categories. (1) We just came through a storm; (2) we’re currently in a storm; or (3) we’re headed into a storm, and oftentimes, without warning. I’m thankful Hurricane Hermine is behind us. The wind and rain were intense and sustained for a considerable amount of time. The intensity of the hurricane was different than a severe thunderstorm in Kentucky.
- The decisions of people. We make hundreds of decisions every day. People along the Gulf Coast were warned about the dangers of the approaching storm. Local and state authorities asked people repeatedly to evacuate certain areas. High winds and storm surge could be deadly. I watched several interviews of people who made the decision to ignore the evacuation appeal and ride the storm out. I meet many people who hear the Gospel, understand the uncertainty of life, and ignore the appeal to turn from their sin and trust Jesus.
- The value of communication. People want to be informed. Questions need answers, if at all possible. What is the storm track? When will our electrical power be restored? Will school be in session on Tuesday? Are we having church on Sunday? It’s apparent that communication needs to be prompt, clear, and detailed. I sensed people’s joy when communication was timely. I heard people’s frustration when communication was delayed (or even missing).
- The sacrifice of people. Our church’s vision statement is about loving Jesus, one another, and people in our city and around the world. As I walked the church hallways on Sunday, I heard story after story of how you sacrificed to help people. You provided snacks and meals for people; you helped people with generators; you served people by removing trees from driveways; you answered phones for a local relief agency; and you welcomed people into your homes for meals, laundry, and rest. The worst of conditions often allow us to see the best in people.
In each of the seven points, I see spiritual lessons to be learned.
Thank you for your kind comments about “The Revelation 7” sermon series. I hope you’ll secure a copy of the “Experiencing God” booklet. If you didn’t secure one on Sunday, you can find one in the lobby, in the brick hallway by the education building, or in the main Church Office.
I hope to see you Sunday in Sunday school and worship, as we remember the 15th anniversary of September 11. May the Lord send a revival and spiritual awakening in our country!
May We Experience God,