Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?Luke 12:54-56
The LORD impressed me to change my sermon, because of Hurricane Ian, which just cut across the middle of Florida from West to East leaving a swath of devastation. I have family there, as do many of you. Now the Lord had already given me another sermon. Just this past Wednesday morning I hurriedly sketched it out as I was preparing for part three of my series, “Stories from Mark.” In fact I was really excited about what the Holy Spirit had revealed to me. Yet, Wednesday night as I heard from my daughter and son-in-law (Christina & Crist) how the winds were already starting to whip up and the rain was already starting to fall in Volusia County where they live and work, my mind was being changed.
Yes, the next day, Thursday, after speaking to them again on cell phones and losing the connection, texting was not working, power was out across the State, that is 2 1/2 million people without power, and after seeing news footage of the destruction in such places as Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, a place where Tracie and I vacationed just last year, my heart was filled with earnest to preach a message that would more directly speak to the current situation of Georgia’s sister State.
Yes, Tracie and I live in Georgia, and like many others, we visit Florida often, usually pulling our 5th-Wheel camper and staying near beaches. Most of our camping trips we stay in New Smyrna Beach or Port Orange RV parks. Crist and Christina live in Port Orange, a short five mile drive to Daytona Beach. She owns an ice cream shop in Daytona Beach Shores right on A1A, a place at which we frequently and conveniently find ourselves hanging out to socialize and sample the wares. Christina’s shop is called “Ice Scream Social” of DBS. The ice cream is among the best I have ever sampled, and the atmosphere is memorable. You might even find your picture or that of an acquaintance on their wall of fame. Two doors down is one of the best Mexican fast food restaurants, “Senor Taco,” with authentically delicious burritos that go well either before or after ice cream.
Then came Ian and life has changed for Floridians and those of us who frequent the various vacation destinations there. The famous Daytona Beach Pier is destroyed. Of course, piers are usually the first thing to go during major storms. We used to live in Brunswick, Georgia where not infrequently the different board walks of the barrier islands, St. Simons and Jekyll Islands, would get washed away. We also used to live in Southern California, where the piers from Newport Beach to Huntington Beach to Seal Beach, etc. would be broken or destroyed and later rebuilt only to have that cycle repeated over again after another major storm.
Yes, life near the beach can be a precarious undertaking, especially when it comes to major storms. We may expect to lose a few structures, like the piers. I mean, can they even buy insurance for piers? I don’t know, but I doubt it.
Our homes are another thing though. And our places of business. Our modern day society tends to think of them as more permanent. If they are threatened by impending natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes we are willing to take that chance, because it doesn’t happen that often, and then the threat usually dissolves into something less threatening. Like the time about ten years ago we had camped on the Gulf Coast of Florida at Carabelle Beach and were chased out by a tropical storm named Debby.
Debby’s highest sustained winds were clocked at 65mph. Nothing compared to Ian. In fact, Ian may be the costliest hurricane to ever hit Florida. The Governor of Florida called it a once-in-500 years type of disaster. It competes well with two major hurricanes put together, Charley and Francis, both of which hit Florida in 2004. Charley for the wind speed of 150mph, and Francis for the enormous amount of rain water. Ian’s winds pushed back major rivers to cause them to flood inland, and it’s storm power poured down rain in torrents causing major flooding and ruination of multiple homes, businesses and other structures, including tearing away several large sections of the lovely causeway from Fort Myers to Sanibel Island. Sanibel has been completely cut off from the mainland. What are the over 6,000 residents who live on Sanibel going to do? And for those who evacuated, how do they go back to investigate their former residential or business situation?
Then there is the after cost through loss. Crist and Christina, for example, are just one couple with a teenage daughter, our granddaughter, who like many entrepreneurs make their living running their own businesses. Crist as a Chiropractor, and Christina as the owner of an ice cream shop. Their townhome was flooded with three inches of water in the downstairs, but outside was worse with the water level quickly rising above your knees… and then to your waist as you enter the complex’s parking area. Their cars were sitting in water up to the top of the hood. They were a total loss. She did attempt to start one car after the water had abated three days later. She recorded a short video on her cell to show me later. Water poured out the exhaust pipe as if it was a garden hose, and the engine sickly puttered for about a minute and then stopped forever.
How much insurance will give them in remuneration towards purchasing other cars is still unknown. Both of their cars were completely paid for, and they were proud of the fact. Prior to Ian, their overall financial plan, was to keep those cars, and work hard to save money, so that they may one day buy a regular house, where the property would be their own.
Will FEMA help everyone affected with financial loss? How much will homeowners insurance cover? Can one afford to pay the deductibles? What about the business? When will it be up and running again? Producing a modest income again? And that adds to a persons anxiety over how they will come out of this mess economically speaking. Not to mention mentally and physically speaking. Of course it could be worse, for some were injured. Others died.
What about those of you who believe in Jesus and God? How do you see this hurricane and any other natural disaster that may affect your livelihood at any given moment? What counsel does the Bible give for believers in Jesus?
This is why I changed my sermon. I preached it this past Sabbath at the Thomaston Seventh-day Adventist Church in Thomaston, Georgia. The title is written above in this blog. I also taught an impromptu Sabbath School lesson by combining the children with the Adults. Well, it was the adult lesson, but since three children showed up, I had them stay with the few adults who were present, and taught them altogether. The lesson is titled, “Rebellion In a Perfect Universe.”
The question has been frequently asked, “Why do bad things happen to good people.” The link below will bring my YouTube page where you can watch the Bible study lesson and also view the worship service and hear the sermon. And if you would like to support my ministry, please subscribe and share. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today.
Grace & Peace,