Well, I have to admit, it feels a bit like 3 years ago, yesterday. Big honkin’ hurricane in the Gulf, fear and agitation as people ponder their own helplessness in the face of the force of nature’s fury. The added weight, this time, of the memories of devastation, destruction, and loss of life. What is brought to mind most clearly at this time, however, is the fact that there are no accidents. There is nothing that is not the express will of God, or that is not His good and perfect will. With this thought in the forefront, we can only think one thing, when facing nature’s wrath.

This is our Father’s world. Do you really know, deep down in your heart of hearts, what the implications of this are? It’s truly a wonderful thing to behold. Not because I’m “smarter”, or more courageous. (As a side note, what else I find interesting is that our church is in the midst of a study of the book of Joshua, my namesake. What is the cardinal principle of this book? Be Strong and Courageous! Why? For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go!) When we look at all things through the prism of God’s glorification of Himself, and His promises to glorify Himself through us, can we submit to fear? Is it even an option for us to buckle beneath pressure, or bemoan our “fate”, as if God did not have a greater glory to involve us in, through it? I cannot imagine such a thing. I cannot wish such a thing. I cannot, because I know the God I serve. When faced with situations that threaten us, tempt us to ditch our faith, and abandon our hope, we can have only one response.

Joy. Does that sound strange to you? Perhaps it shouldn’t.

How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. ~ 2 Cor. 8;2

Didn’t we see that, after the last big storm?

Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” ~ Neh 8:10

Do you see, yet? What gives us strength?

But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. ~ Psalm 5:11

Who is our shelter? What is the subject of the great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress”? Is this not the same principle?

For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands. ~Psalm 92:4

Even hurricanes are the work of God’s hands. I’ll repeat something I said a long time ago, and has stuck with me ever since.

During the hurricane, it was an adventure. The kind of adventure guys really do like, and don’t really care if anyone thinks they’re crazy for liking. The wind made the house shudder, and shake. The trees’ branches were snapping off right and left, making an awful racket. The rain was driving so hard that it really was painful, when it hit you. Small objects were flying past you at 70+ mph – and all you could do was hold on. I’ll confess – I loved it.

I’m not crazy. I’m a typical guy, I think. I never felt like I was in *real* danger. But I knew I could have been. Adrenaline makes you feel like a million bucks. It’s that feeling you get when you take a curve a hair too fast in a sports car, and get dangerously close to spinning out of it – but you don’t. Your heart races, your blood is pumping so loud in your ears… and you feel alive. Okay, maybe I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

Mostly, though, I was in awe of the display of God’s might. Not that this was a “judgment”, or anything. Just the fact that God’s creation is so breathtakingly powerful, and knowing that God created it. If this storm is this powerful… and God made it… what must God be like?

I spent a good bit of the time curled up on the porch, head on my knees, tears in my eyes, and my heart in my throat. I wasn’t scared. I don’t think i was ever scared once, to be honest. It was too freaking cool. I was praising God, all by myself. Just me, and God, in the middle of this mighty storm – and I was singing. Brokenly, but I was singing. It was that awesome. It’s truly an experience I really don’t quite know how to share. God was just… there. He was with me. I’m not going to say I felt His “special hand of protection on me” – although it may well have been. I just know God was present, because His children can always feel it. I can’t explain it any other way.

I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t even worried. I was awestruck by how unbelievably magnificent a thing that His power had wrought. I can’t really say I’d still say the same, had I sustained more damage. We had almost nothing damaged at all. All I know is – that hurricane, from the inside, was quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I couldn’t help but fall down and praise. I just couldn’t. I hadn’t told anyone this story yet – not really. Bethany heard it, sort of. I don’t know if I got it across very well to her at the time. It seemed a bit odd a thing to share, really. It’s what happened, though. In the wake of all the devastation, all the pain, and all the loss – I almost feel bad saying I think it was so neat. The actual storm WAS neat. What it did wasn’t so neat. The storm itself… I have never seen anything like it, and likely never will again.

I got to sit and watch the ENTIRE thing from a dry place, I was safe, and I praised God.

I said that back in this post, in Dec. of ’05.

In the midst of a possible dervish of destruction – you know what? God is still in control of things. He’s still the Author and Finisher of our faith. He still has His hand on the tiller. He still “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb 1:3). Fear not!

There is a perfect purpose in the midst of these events, no matter whether we can see it or not. So, while I did do some preparation for the hurricane’s landfall in my area, I also know I can’t lose sight of the fact that there is no room for “a spirit of fear” in the heart of a Christian – only for power, and for love, and for a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). So, if you also find yourself in the path of a storm, or in the midst of difficulty; “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

I’ve live-blogged the last few hurricanes I’ve been around for – I’ll likely do the same with this one, as long as I can. I’m 8 miles north of the beach, same house as last time, and the same God is still my God 😀 Don’t worry. God’s in control, and His glory will be displayed in this. In the meantime, pray, meditate on His goodness, and even love this awesome display of might in His creation. I assure you – it is a powerful and blessed thing.