September 18, 2018
For a couple of weeks, officials and forecasters warned us that Hurricane Florence was coming, and she was going to be memorable. But people had doubts about the accuracy of the information, and, as is common in our culture, got a bit bored with the constant coverage before anything had happened. Memes popped up all over social media, poking a bit of fun at the process, like “Watching for a hurricane is like being stalked by a turtle,” and pictures of Rambo-like characters, daring the hurricane to try to get them to leave their home.
But Florence did show up, a fierce storm, cutting a destructive swath across six states. As of this morning, here is a quick summary:
- At least 24 people have died in storm-related incidents, including a man and woman in Horry County, South Carolina, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
- About 500,000 homes and businesses are still without power in North and South Carolina.
- As of 11 a.m. Monday, Florence was a tropical depression with sustained winds of 25 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. It was located about 240 miles west of Charlottesville, Virginia, moving northeast at 15 mph.
- Florence was still massive Monday morning. Radar showed parts of the sprawling storm over six states, with North and South Carolina in the bull's-eye.
- Some weakening is expected today before Florence re-intensifies as it transitions to an extratropical cyclone tomorrow and Wednesday.
- Swansboro, North Carolina has received more than 30 inches of rain; several other places have received more than 20 inches.
- Florence is producing widespread heavy rains and causing flash flooding and major river flooding over a "significant portion" of North and South Carolina, the hurricane center said.
- At least 1.7 million people were evacuated.
Why did Hurricane Florence happen? There are always people in the backwash of a natural disaster who are quick to attribute the destruction to an angry God, and the sins of people. But nothing in the word or character of God shows that to be true. We live in a broken world, a place since sin originally entered the world in the Garden of Eden, that has been prone to glitches in the environment; disasters as nature exerts its control.
There are tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, monsoons, diseases. Bad things happen, and they happen without discrimination. While we were facing our own East Coast crisis, the Philippines were bracing for monsoon season and the usual flooding, mudslides, and loss of life. Around the world were all kinds of crises, large and small—though they are always large if you are the ones affected.
So it is true with our lives. We will have storms. There will be hurricane-force struggles blow into our lives. Many of those will be just because we live in a broken world. Bad things happen—there are diseases and forces of the world we live in over which we have no control. But for us as humans with power of choice, some of that comes because we are broken people and choose to live independently from the God who loves us.
The warnings of Hurricane Florence met the same kind of response as other major storm warnings. Some people made the wise choice and evacuated as the authorities responsible for their care ordered. They went to safe ground, and came through the storm intact. Some people boarded up their houses and businesses and prepared for the worst, making their property as well protected as possible.
Others chose to believe it wouldn’t be as bad as the warnings said, and they decided to stay and tough it out, and some made little preparation. Many of them feel like it was worth it, because they had an adventure and they lived through it. They didn’t have to pay the costs of evacuation. But for a few others, the choice didn’t work out so well. At the last count, somewhere around 20 hurricane-related deaths have been reported. None of the ones who died thought it would be them.
So it is with us in our everyday life. God’s Word is full of warnings, cautions, and preparation tips for the storms of life that are inevitable. The storm is coming. God wants us to be prepared. That’s what NewPointe is all about: helping you prepare for the storm and live through it. We want to help you follow the words of Jesus and be safe as He said. . .
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27