Hurricane Harvey (Part 1)

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:26-30 ESV). I am actually writing today’s devotional several days before you will see it posted. For that reason it may seem like “old news.” I do want you to know that it is very current as I write it. The last forty-eight hours have been particularly stressful; and, for some of my relatives, they have been absolutely terrifying. Let me recount a brief timeline of recent events surrounding the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in the Galveston-Houston area where many of my family still live. As forecasters began to issue predictions and warnings regarding Harvey I called my oldest brother who lives in Dickinson, Texas. Of course I asked if he was prepared for the storm. He assured me he would be fine. He had plenty of water and food. The house he was living in had never flooded before. His plan was to just wait it out. Early in the morning of August 26th he called to tell me that his house was flooded and he couldn’t get out. There was already four feet of water in the house and more coming. Being 200 miles away and with no way of getting there, I began to make some phone calls to other relatives. His children were aware and working on a way to get him rescued and taken to a safe shelter. Ten hours later rescuers were able to get to his house and pull him to safety. They were terrifying and perilous hours. At this writing he is safely at a friend’s house resting and recuperating from the ordeal. After all he is nearly 76 and in ill health. We are all very grateful for his safety. That experience causes me to pose the question, “Why?” Whether it is a physical storm, emotional, or spiritual all these experiences test our strength to the brink of breaking. I suppose the first thought is always what we could have done differently. It would have been so easy to simply evacuate and avoid all chance of danger. After all, isn’t that a part of being prepared for such a calamity? It wasn’t as if we didn’t have some warning of the potential for danger. It is the same with every trial of life. Often we think we are prepared and find later we simply weren’t. So, for the next few days I want us to look at the preparation for the great storms of life. I suppose I am saying to you that a storm IS coming. I am urging you to be prepared. It may even mean a drastic change for you; but, it is essential. Storms do eventually strike. Be ready. I pray you will commit to that preparation. It requires a theological preparation as well as a physical...

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