A powerful surge of water devastated the Atlantic coast just days before a political surge devastated the Christians in America. Both the people on the coast and the Christians braced themselves for a powerful superstorm but neither group was fully prepared. Now we are trying to survive, regroup and find our way back to stability.
When I see the destruction that Hurricane Sandy left behind on the coast, I grieve for the people there. The media interviews crying, grieving, angry, cold, hungry, homeless Americans who don’t know what hit them or why. Many are hopeless and talk of having nothing, including a future. And I grieve for what our post-Christian nation has lost.
It brought out the worst in people. They posed as FEMA workers to rob people who trusted them for help. Price-gougers in necessities like groceries, gas and motel rooms wasted their opportunity for charity and took advantage of their desperate neighbors.
I like to think that if our family was caught in such a dangerous event that it would bring out the best in us instead of the worst. I like to think that we have the strength and perseverance of the man who hunkered down in his living room with his wife. The couple was quickly swept through the house and through the glass windows at the back of the home. He grabbed a fencepost in one hand and his wife in the other. After enduring the initial surge, he swam 6 blocks holding her up until he could stand up and carry her to safety.
We can follow the example of the heroes who rescued others at their own peril. Those from nearby neighborhoods came to check on the elderly whether they were relatives or not. A Wall Street businessman organized a makeshift food kitchen with the help of several restaurant owners and food service companies. Soon hundreds of volunteers were contributing water, clothing and blankets from their own homes. Other volunteers joined sanitation crews to clear the piles of rubbish from the street. Several bodies were found and mourned.
The political surge was just as devastating to us Christians as Hurricane Sandy. We number many times more than the hundreds of thousands decimated by the Superstorm. The political superstorm that swept us back will have greater consequences that will last through many generations to come. We have lost and lost big.
How do we respond? We feel like victims but we are not. The Lord encourages us through Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you … plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” We are survivors with hope and a purpose for our future. We are more than survivors; we are conquerors.
Like the survivors on the coast we can blame politicians for not rescuing us, and for not providing the basic structures that we need right now. Yet we are alive! “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed,” (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
We sing our songs about how God’s grace is enough, and all we need is Jesus. Among the wreckage around us perhaps we need to remember that God’s grace enables us to get up and try again to bring his truths to those in our neighborhood who are hurting. Jesus is all we need to motivate us to giveaway, from his storehouse of spiritual gifts, those words that can bring new life to the downhearted.
There wasn’t much said on the news about victims relying on their faith to get them through, to give them hope, to motivate them to help others. But that is what others must hear us say as we try to make sense out of the unbelievable blow to our Christian way of life that is so precious to us.
The superstorm brought us down but it doesn’t have the power to keep us down unless we forget to trust in the Lord. Nothing is impossible for him, who tells us, “Be strong and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you,” (Deut. 31:6).
As the east coast rebuilds, let us cooperate with our merciful Lord to rebuild our value system by sharing his joyful life within us with those who despair. Our hope is in the Lord. So, together, “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up,” (Gal. 6:9).