Hurricanes Harvey and Irma packed a one-two punch on the U.S., particularly in Texas and Florida. Here in Citrus County, many of us are feeling the strain of downed trees, power outages, and no electricity. In Naples, Jacksonville, the Keys, Miami, and Houston, families fared far worse. Homes and cars are flooded and destroyed. Lives were in peril or lost. Hopelessness and desperation mounted.
It’s in times like these that the hope of Jesus shines through. When we were watching news footage of shelters in Houston, the world took time to stop and be blessed as Victoria White and the Houston Gospel Choir brought praise and worship to local shelters. This image and sound of hope and light in the darkness has received tens of thousands of hits on YouTube and was featured on such television programs as CNN, Good Morning America, and The Tonight Show. Stories abounded of people giving away the last generator, heading to flood zones with personal vessels on rescue missions, and offering their homes as shelters. Facebook can all too often be a source of annoyance, but in times like these, messages to friends and family saying “We’re okay,” “No A/C but our family is safe,” and “We have A/C – come on over if you need a hot shower” warm the heart and soul and remind us that the common grace of God comforts His people. Pastor Ray reminded us in his e-letter that even on the day of the storm, it “is the Lord’s Day.” Even when the storm comes and the water rises, we can say, “God is good. All the time!” Why? Because of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not alone. Jesus assures us to “Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name and you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… For I am the Lord your God, your savior." Isaiah 43:1-2