Fast Facts: Hurricane Charlie (2004) would fit within the eye of Hurricane Ian (2022). Yes, sometimes bigger is not better. Hurricane Ian was the largest financial disaster in Florida’s history. Only technological savvy gained over the last century, prevented perhaps hundreds if not thousands of more deaths. It landed off the southwestern Florida coast as a Cat 5.
1)Neighbors actually talk to and help each other. The famous American veneer of independence has been stripped away. The Old Testament scripture that “every man has his fig and vine tree” (Micah 4:4) can be an indictment, resulting with selfishness and insulating ourselves from people in need.
2)Adversity strengthens character. Strong Christians are like tea bags, hot water brings out the best in us. When everything is peaches and creme in my life, I never grow. The mundane produces mediocrity. Tragedy gives us golden opportunities to assist others, and to shine as Christians born from above.
3)Hurricane Ian is a microcosm of the soon coming judgment of God and Great Tribulation period. We were privileged to endure it. If you do not realize that these weather events are part of the Lord’s judgment on this so called “Christian” nation, then I have a piece of real estate in the middle of the Florida Everglades to sell to you. The LGBTQ+ abominable lifestyles and abortions have been accepted by a great portion of our culture. God took out two Old Testament cities (Sodom and Gomorrah) who had much less spiritual light than we have. Perhaps this is a final wake up call or last opportunity to get right with our Creator. Our loving Creator is trying to get the attention of fallen man despite ourselves, and this is good.
4)I had the opportunity to speak at length with my brother Fred in Boca Raton, Florida. Living in the Gold Coast through most of his life, Fred is a hurricane expert and checked up on us several times. He and I are bookends with our mutual Christian faith and political viewpoints. He has suffered severely through poor decisions of other family members, so he has a special place in my heart. I will take his advice and purchase a generator which I could have used a couple of days ago.
5)Our neighbors taught me how to take a Pilipino shower, even though I did not take one.
6)The adversity is a reality check for the things that matter most. Americans often have warped priorities and our “trinity” becomes me, myself and I, if we are not careful. Ian helps us to focus outward and not inward.
7)Christians have the best opportunity we may ever have of putting feet on our faith. As you shine through adversity, people are watching and taking notes!
8)The good Lord gave us two weeks of 76-84 degree weather after this storm. This is unique this time of year. Also, hurricanes are frequently followed by rain bands, adding difficulty to those with damaged roofs. We have had dry conditions since Ian. Thank you Jesus!
9)God saw to it that some of our trees were trimmed of dead branches. He also saw that trees fell away from our house and not into it! Thank you Jesus!
1)The fear that people feel while enduring such an event. 100+ winds pounding on our abodes for twelve to fourteen hours. Water piling up outside as we wonder if it will come into our homes and church buildings. Wondering what we will wake up to. This hurricane was especially wide and devastating. Homes left their foundation and floated down the street. Both wind and water damage were huge.
2)The stress of preparing for several days, followed by living through the hurricane itself, and feeling totally wiped out after the fact. Yes, we have faith but these catastrophic events take a toll on our body, soul and spirit. Many of us are entering or already in our senior years, and strength and endurance are at a premium.
3)Realizing that these events are the product of living on a sin cursed planet. We look forward to the Millenium, but this is a classic case of suffering in the present age.
1)Those with severe health challenges, triggered by the stress. A former parishioner with health concerns, Fred Strike, was totally devastated after Hurricane Charlie, and said: “I am going to die.” A retired pastor in our church thought he was over reacting. Fred passed on within two weeks. Others have trouble with catastrophic damage to the homes and it is just too much. We must be cognizant of their needs and help them.
2)People pulling guns over their need of gasoline and water. This is a microcosm of our culture and populace if these items become permanently scarce. Scary! Tip: Get these items BEFORE the hurricane strikes. Do not jeopardize your safety, getting in line with crazed heathens who crave their needs, and care for no one else. Hurricane season is June 1 to November 30 – have extra food, water and gasoline during this window. Common sense / no brainer.
3)People with catastrophic damage and EVERYTHING seems to have gone wrong. When I personally first encounter extreme adversity, I often overestimate the challenges. Prayer and time, a good nights’ rest, a timely word from friends, can be a healing balm and help us get the right perspective. We need to provide that to loved ones.
*** Notice that the “good” is more numerous than the “bad and the ugly” combined. That was by design. ROMANS 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God is in the business of placing rainbows around our dark clouds! ***
Habakkuk 3:17-19 King James Version
17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
Blessings, Pastor Steve <><