Mark 4:39 – He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. (NIV)
Hurricane Sandy barrelled up the Atlantic coastline of the United States during the weekend before All Hallows Eve, earning it the nickname "Frankenstorm". This monster storm lived up to its name as it wreaked destruction all along the eastern seaboard. It united with a cold front to the west and a Canadian storm to form a super-storm with a 1500-mile rotation stretching from Florida into the mid-west and Canada.
Ships pitched and yawed in thirty-foot swells, sinking. Raging into New Jersey and New York, the storm sent a fourteen-foot storm surge crashing across beaches, down city streets, and into subway tunnels. So far, over ninety lives have been lost and countless families have been made homeless. Then the storm turned inland and roared toward Pennsylvania, where we live, dumping snow in the mountains and causing power outages.
Needless to say, the Christians in our area began to pray. As we remembered that our Lord had stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee, and believing His words, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing" (John 14:12a NIV), we began to pray that the Lord would still the storm, spare our area, and help those whom the storm had hurt.
That night, while the wind howled, I fell asleep praying. In the morning, I woke to calm, grey skies and drizzle. The storm had hit Pennsylvania, but it had also hit a wind shear, parking the eye right over us. All around our area the storm roared, but for two days, peace reigned in the eye of the storm. Before former hurricane Sandy moved off into Canada, it weakened even further as the air cooled.
I can't help wondering why the Lord spared us when so many lost their homes, livelihoods, and even their lives. I can't know, but I believe the Lord of the storm heard our prayers. Thank the Lord, He stilled the storm here, sparing us. I'm certain that over time, as other personal stories emerge, there will undoubtedly be more tales of divine intervention and deliverance right in the midst of the fury of the storm.
My heart breaks for the wreckage I see on the television newscasts, and certainly, as Christians, we want to respond with assistance, however we are able. Those who are able to send money for disaster relief can send it to the Red Cross, to the Presbyterian Disaster Relief Fund of the Presbyterian Church USA, to Presbyterian World Service and Development of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, or through their local church. For those who can't, please pray for the many people who are now homeless just as winter winds begin to blow.
Prayer: Lord God, we turn to You as storms break over our lives. You who stilled the storm, we thank You for being with us in every disaster and for sparing our lives. Provide for those whose lives have been forever altered by this recent storm, for we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "No Not One" (Lyrics)