We received this update regarding Hurricane Ian, which was written from a pastor’s perspective. Pastor Jeramie and his church are walking in the aftermath of the storm in Sanibel. He wanted to encourage his congregation with his thoughts on the storm in the light of God’s Word:
Dear Sanibel Church Family,
It’s Sunday morning, Oct 2nd at 4:30 a.m. I’m writing this from a hotel bathroom, so as not to wake my wife. I couldn’t have imagined a week ago that this is where I would be today.
Normally, on a Sunday morning, I would be waking up around 5:30 a.m. or so to head out for a beach walk with my poodle to pray and think through the sermon I had spent all week preparing. . . .
But, instead, I’m sitting in a hotel bathroom.
I don’t have a house. My earthly possessions can now fit in my truck. I can’t go to my favorite beach. I have no idea when I will preach again in my pulpit on Sanibel to my beloved congregation. . . .
Where are you this morning?
Some of you are also in hotels on the east coast. Some are staying with family and friends, wondering how long the arrangement will work. Others are up north watching this disaster from a distance, filled with more questions than answers, and plagued by a vexing sense of helplessness. Some are in the Ft. Myers area without power, Internet, or consistent cell service. They can’t even read this email. Some are stuck in shelters. . . . Some . . . I don’t know where they are. . . .
. . . [T]his morning, sitting in my bathroom “office” unable to sleep, I find myself in a rare moment of contemplation. I’m thinking about Psalm 46:
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
. . . This faith in the Lord as our refuge, strength, and help gives us an internal strength that stands in stark contrast to the chaos of the storm:
4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. . . .
And this stream isn’t just for us. The Lord wants His living waters to flow out of our lives into the lives of others. I bet, even in the pain and confusion of this past week, the thought has crossed your mind, “How will the Lord use this to advance the gospel and display His glory?” Keep asking that question. Turn it into a prayer.
God’s calling on His people to be salt and light and to bear witness to Jesus has not changed. Our mission remains intact. . . .
On Wednesday, as the storm raged, I was sitting in a mall in Boca Raton trying to get Internet. One of the stores had a TV with news coverage of the storm. Starved for information, I walked over to watch with a few others. We started talking, and I told them I was a Sanibel refugee. The strangers around me stood in shock as I described what little I knew was happening on Sanibel, Captiva, and Ft Myers.
The conversation ended, and I returned to my computer. A few minutes later, one of the store employees came over and said, “I’m sorry, but I just have to ask: Why are you so calm? You’re losing everything, and yet, you seem so nonchalant.”. . .
So, I started to explain, “Well, I’m a Christian, and I pastor a church. . . . ” I didn’t get to finish my sentence. His face lit up, and he said, “Of course! You have God. I got it! It all makes sense.” And he walked away smiling.
I pray today that wherever you are, you may take time to sit beside the river of God and be filled with His peace. And then take His Word, His gospel, and His love to a helpless and hopeless world that’s still sinking.
Love in Christ,
Events disasters such as Hurricane Ian can be devastating, especially as we are going through them, but the Lord calls them light and momentary troubles. Keep pointing others to their only true help and true hope, Jesus Christ, who wants to protect them from true trouble that will last forever in eternity for those who haven’t placed their faith and trust in eternity.
Until the Nets are Full,