Continuing prayers are needed for the many who were impacted by the ‘derecho,’ of 2012. Thousands are still without power.
One pastor – a tree fell and totaled his car.
Several churches may still have no power.
Many had their power restored in the last few hours.
This week will not be forgotten soon. It’s been one of the most difficult and traumatic eight days, I’ve witnessed in this area in a long time.
New word: “Derecho” which according to Wikipedia, “is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms.” Heard it before? I don’t ever want to hear or experience a “Derecho” ever again.
New Question to ask if you want to hear a story: “How long did you go without power?”
For most, but not all, power has been restored. But there was plenty of pain and suffering along the way. In the midst of all the confusion and pain, I heard story after story about the dedication of our pastors and churches as they delivered water, offered showers, opened their buildings as cooling stations and checked up on the elderly. Many of you lead the efforts to help others while you were suffering yourself.
A wedding was held at a church with no power last Saturday: hot, dark but still beautiful.
A get-together was hosted by a family for the whole church rather than let their food spoil.
Park View Community Mission had power restored before the food was spoiled in the walk-in freezer. Thousands of dollars of valuable food was still good to give away to those in need.
Thank our many heroes who continued to serve during this time of crisis.
“An aid group in South Africa wrote to missionary and explorer David Livingstone, ‘Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send others to join you.'”
“Livingston replied, ‘If you have others who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want those who will come even if there is no road at all.'” — John Maxwell
The lesson in this story: If you can travel only when the roads are good, where is the ministry?
There is something special about anyone who comes when there are no roads. I call it a “can do” spirit willing to do whatever is necessary. For those who kept going when there were no roads and kept a “can do” spirit alive in the midst of the crisis, I want to take this moment to write: “Thank you! Well Done!” There is no better witness of our love for Christ.
Being a follower of God is never promised to be easy. At times the road is clearly marked for us to follow but at times of crisis the road is slippery, unclear and often treacherous. It is in these difficult times when we are reminded that Jesus also never walked an easy road.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus reminded Peter that his road would often be difficult and unmarked: “Feed My sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow Me.” (John 21:18-19)
We forget how difficult it was for the early disciples, yet they continued on and everywhere they went lives were changed, churches formed and ministries begun.
One of my favorite hymns written by Charles Albert Tindley, “Stand by Me.” The promise is that wherever your journey leads, you can count on Christ.
“When the storms of life are raging, stand by me. When the storms of life are raging, stand by me. When the world is tossing me, like a ship upon the sea, thou who rulest wind and water, stand by me.”
“In the midst of tribulations, stand by me. In the midst of tribulations, stand by me. When the host of hell assail, and my strength begins to fail, thou who never lost a battle, stand by me.”
In the midst of faults and failures, stand by me. In the midst of faults and failures, stand by me. “When I’ve done the best I can, and my friends misunderstand, thou who knowest all about me, stand by me.”
“In the midst of persecution, stand by me. In the midst of persecution, stand by me. When my foes in war array undertake to stop my way, thou who saved Paul and Silas, stand by me.”
When I’m growing old and feeble, stand by me. When I’m growing old and feeble, stand by me. When my life becomes a burden, and I’m nearing chilly Jordan, O thou Lily of the Valley, stand by me.”
Another way to face our storms is a prayer for strength and defiance. As you think about the almighty Christ who will stand by you in the midst of any storm, any “Derecho,” any blackout… remember this poem and prayer written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
Refuse to fall down. If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down. If you cannot refuse to stay down
lift your heart toward heaven
and like a hungry beggar, ask that it be filled,
and it will be filled.
You may be pushed down. You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart
toward heaven — only you.
It is in the midst of misery that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good came of this, is not yet listening…
refuse to fall down.