Those living along the Gulf Coast have certainly been pummeled in recent years by some severe hurricanes. Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, and others have wreaked havoc with people’s lives and property, forcing many to make difficult decisions about rebuilding or moving on to what is hopefully a safer location. For those who are lifelong residents of an area, the decision to pull up stakes and relocate elsewhere can be an emotionally devastating one. Those who have lived for many years in a place that has become home to them put down some rather deep roots, and the uprooting process is painful.
Several thoughts occurred to me as I pondered the plight of those most recently affected by Ike, including a cousin who was still without power more than a week after the storm. One is that these storms bring out the best in those whose hearts are bent toward serving their fellow man. Baptists from many states are volunteering their time—spending long hours in feeding the hungry, helping clean up the mess left behind, and counseling and consoling those who are hurting and grieving. It also occurred to me that those who do choose to settle elsewhere are going to face the unsettling task of finding a new house, perhaps looking for a new job and school for the children, making new friends, and hopefully finding a new church home.
I also considered the sobering truth that there really are no places that are absolutely safe to live. Sure, folks can leave the Gulf Coast and eliminate the risk of facing the full force of a hurricane, but where can you move where storm winds don’t blow, where lightning doesn’t strike, where car accidents don’t occur, and where the possibility of being the victim of a violent crime is non-existent? That utopia isn’t to be found on Earth. What we can do is to resolve to live each day without fear, remembering the words of Jesus that He will never leave us nor forsake us—even in the midst of life’s most severe storms. We can live with the knowledge that nothing in this universe can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Those truths will equip us to deal with the unexpected adversities of life, and hopefully will enable us to help others as they weather their own storms.