Tragedies occur every day. Some tragedies will never be
forgotten. Anyone that is old enough remembers where they were when they heard about the planes flying into the World Trade Center buildings on September 11th, 2001. This was a wicked act that affected our entire country.
Some tragedies affect just a few people while others affect
millions. 15 years ago, Hurricane Katrina brought devastation mostly to Louisiana and Mississippi. I saw the effects firsthand, having the opportunity to minister in New Orleans just a few days after the hurricane, and a month later in Mississippi. It was an eye-opening experience.
I have always enjoyed boats, but it was a different experience having to watch in the filthy water for cars and duck under red lights. I have pulled plenty of seaweed off a prop, but this was the first time I had to cut a box spring off the prop so that we could continue offering help to people stranded in the second story of their residence. I also spent time at the Convention center giving the gospel to those that were waiting for their ride (often by helicopter) out of New Orleans. I have traveled to many places and seen people that have nothing, but this was different. Here you had people that had lost everything. A few clung to a Walmart shopping bag containing all their remaining possessions. They stood in a long line in the hot sun waiting for a ride that would take them to a place or places unknown.
Shock is usually one of the effects when tragedy strikes, whether it is a terrorist attack, a hurricane, or a virus that takes the lives of so many. We often don’t think that tragedy will happen to us. Well it does. The question is how we will respond when it comes. Here are 3 things that we need to consider when tragedy strikes.
Three lessons learned in tragedies:
We are not in control.
You may like to think that you are in control of your life. You will be disappointed if you think this. God gives a warning to those that think they are in control of tomorrow. James 4:14-15 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” This is not a pessimistic point of view. This is not a “live and let live” kind of mentality. There are many things that we can and must do, but we are not in control of the future. Yes, it can be a fearful thing when things are out of our control, but that is when we must learn the next lesson.
God is in control.
Someone far wiser and more powerful than us is in control. It should be a great encouragement that the Creator of heaven, earth, and you and me is in control. Not only is He all-powerful, but He loves and cares for each of us. He is “my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust.” We live in a difficult time. There is so much hatred and so many strong, divisive opinions. Well God’s opinion is the only one that matters. Yes, many people hate what God has to say, but that does not change the fact that God is in control. One day everyone will acknowledge this.
God gives strength in weakness.
The Apostle Paul faced as many trials as anyone and more than most. He faced things that we will never face and yet at his weakest and most vulnerable he was the strongest. This is because he did not rely on his own wisdom and strength. He did not try to prove that he was brilliant or a great man. He humbly obeyed God and as a result we are still reaping the benefits.
In New Orleans the fear did not hit when I was in the boat bringing people to safety, or walking through the filthy water, or even when the gun shots caused me to drop to the ground and crawl to safety.
The greatest fear for me came when I had the opportunity to speak to the police of the 6th
District. Their headquarters was underwater, so we were meeting at a Walmart that had been looted and was still without electricity. These officers had seen everything. One of their own had just committed suicide and they had been working day and night. I felt so inadequate to speak to them. Why would they listen to a 20 something year old when they just needed to go get some sleep? After their captain spoke to them it was my turn to
address these real heroes. Outside that Walmart I stood on a chair and tried to speak over the noise of the helicopters that would pass overhead. An amazing thing happened. Every officer gave their full attention. It can only be explained by the power of God. I was not in
control, God was. They all needed the truth of the Word of God even more then they needed sleep. After facing so much death they needed the Gospel.
Today the same thing is needed. I would be so honored to share the Gospel with you if you are interested. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can go to our website, calvaryflorida.com. If you or anyone that you know are looking for a church that preaches and believes the Word of God, please join us this Sunday at 11:00.