The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Special edition: A hurricane reflection

I’ve been rebuking hurricanes since 1980. Charley is the first one to ignore me.

As I stood in my front alcove shouting my very best, the storm roared back at me. A steady stream of 30-foot high debris flew past me so fast I couldn’t take inventory. I’ve never felt as helpless as I did at that moment.

Forty hours later I would stand in front of the faith-filled flock at Peace and say what? “What, Lord?” I asked. As clearly as I had heard Charley roar, I heard the Spirit whisper, “Philippians 4 and John 11.”

“How do we respond to no roof, no electricity, no running water or no phones? Rejoice in the Lord always and pray in everything Paul encourages us,” I encouraged. “As we do, Paul promises that the peace of God will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

“But why, Pastor, you might rightly ask, didn’t Charley stop, turn or dissipate? Good question! It was my question too.

“John writes that Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus, Yet, when word comes to him that Lazarus is sick, Jesus stays two days longer. When Jesus finally does arrive and orders the tomb to be opened, Martha reminds him of the stench of a four-day-dead body.

“‘Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’ Jesus asks the servant sister. ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe you would see the glory of God?’ Jesus asks us as Charley survivors.

“Believers, we will be seeing the glory of God. Believers, be looking for the display of God’s glory each day. And tell somebody what you see!

“Finally, brothers and sisters, back to Philippians 4:8ff. Paul writes a prescription that promises the peace of God. Think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent, anything worthy of praise. I am not suggesting that we live in a Scarlett O’Hara spirit of denial but rather that we meditate on the promises of our Saving God to overcome signs of death that ‘stinketh’ all around us.”

So now, every Sunday, After Charley, we rejoice and give testimony to the truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, graciousness and excellence we see our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ working out in our lives each week. Praise the Lord!


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