by Sharman J. Monroe
This week, Hurricane Sandy smashed into the eastern United States from the coastline to as far inland as West Virginia. It left behind such widespread and diverse devastation due to high winds, heavy snowfall, flooding and power outages. While property was loss, the most important losses were of people and of their spirit. I recently re-read Max Lucado’s book, “God is Closer Than You Think” wherein he says God is all around us all the time, even in the ordinary. Like the Where’s Waldo pictures, if you clear your mind and focus on God, you will find Him. So I looked for God in all this but I didn’t want to write a typical message about going through the storms of life. Then a word popped into my mind – brokenness.
In the Old Testament, God, through His prophets, warned the Israelites to stop putting their trust in things other than Him (idol worship), following false doctrines (teachings of false gods), engaging in sexual immorality and other evil (ungodly) activities (Jeremiah 2:1-37). He urged them to stop these activities, confess their sins and return to Him (Jeremiah 3:22; 4:1-4). They did not. Consequently, they were broken both physically, they lost their possessions and country when they were conquered (2 Chronicles 36:15-21; Jeremiah 39:1-9), and spiritually, they lost their connection to God. Before the Israelites were conquered, however, God promised not to leave them in their brokenness (Isaiah 53:1-12; Ezekiel 36:16-38).
In the New Testament, Paul taught people they were to love one another (Romans 12:9-21; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) most of all. He also taught their spiritual brokenness would be healed forever, they would be reconnected to God forever, through Jesus Christ, if they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for their sins, and that He rose from the dead, and accept Jesus their Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Ephesians 4:30).
People today worship idols. Anything you put before God, anything you trust or rely on instead of God, is an idol. Money, jobs, physical beauty, material possessions, man-made systems, even other people can be idols if you value them more than God. People believe and follow false doctrines. Anything that points you away from Jesus and the gospel of the Cross is a false doctrine (Colossians 2:8-10). People engage in all types of sexual immorality and treat such conduct as a rule rather than an exception. People have forgotten God and believe all they have is of their own making.
The One True God who created the heavens and the earth and all the things in them. must be first in our lives in all things (Matthew 6:33). We must return to putting our faith in God first, not second or third after all our other options are gone or we will be broken, physically and spiritually.
But like the people in the Bible, God promises to heal our brokenness. His promise is fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus said,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed.
Luke 4:18 (NKJV)
Now is the time for all Christians to be the beacon of light in your community that Christ called you to be. (Matthew 5:14-16, Philippians 2:14-16). Now is the time for all Christians to direct people to Jesus. How can you do that? By showing them Jesus in your behavior (Galatians 5:22-25). Show love to another. The dictionary defines love as an unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. So respect someone’s opinion although you don’t agree with it. Smile and say Hi to someone don’t know. Give Godly correction to a family member although you don’t want to. Don’t be quick to be angry with someone. They may be angry at something else, or hurt or scared. Be patient while standing in a long, long line and don’t gripe. Get to know a person in line with you. Pray for others asking God to pour out His peace and blessings. Give of your self – take the time to listen to someone else and help them in some way. If you are living in Sandy’s devastation, I know you can’t see a better place. But don’t let the effects of Hurricane Sandy overwhelm you. Call on God to help you and keep calling. Philippians says 4:5-7 (NKJV) says,
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
When they see you in action, they will ask how you can be so calm in the middle of the storm. Then you can direct them to Jesus.
Right now, take a moment and think of a way you can be a beacon of light, directing people to Jesus, in your family, in your community or in the areas hit by Hurricane Sandy. Do it TODAY!
- Not the Way it Should be, Thoughts on Hurricane Sandy (broeder10.wordpress.com)
- What Jesus Might Say About Sandy (christianitytoday.com)
- Prayers For Those in the Path of Hurricane Sandy! (gentlyspeaking.wordpress.com)
- Do I Lack Faith? (beyondwaiting.com)