(On November 4, I gave the message at our Sunday morning Worship Service. Yesterday I shared Part 1 of this message. Here is Part 2.)
We kept in touch Monday through facebook and texting. Her husband was expected to spend Monday unto Tuesday at work to secure their building, so Patty was home alone with her small children. At 4pm Monday she still had power. Her text read, “I’m ok but I’m not looking forward to tonight. Once the winds pick up we will lose power and if it’s pouring down rain and 40 mph winds, I’ve got to hook up the generator, make a makeshift canopy for it outside and babysit it all night long. I’ve been up since 3:45am, so not looking forward to that. Pray I can do what needs to get done.”
Three hours later (while Bill and I were on a date) Patty texted, “Wind gusts are ramping up, power outages are jumping by the thousands, lights are starting to flicker.” I couldn’t help but think, here Bill and I were enjoying a nice evening together and Patty was thousands of miles away in the middle of a hurricane! Have you ever been overcome with a helpless, hopeless feeling? Like when you know someone is going through something so awful, and there is not one thing you can do to help? That’s where I was. The only thing I could do was pray…and so I continued to do so. I texted back to her, “Oh gosh, Jesus be with you!”
My heart was so burdened for Patty…maybe more burdened than I ever remember my heart being. I couldn’t get Patty out of my mind. I prayed for her, almost consistently that evening. This was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I still get goosebumps when I think about it. An hour later she texted, “Still holding my breath. 196,000 households without power. We had one major power burp 20 minutes ago, but they came back on.”
We both rejoiced through our texts that she still had power. I checked in with her again at 10:30pm and she replied, “We’re in a lull right now which is only explained by prayer because radar is showing heavy rain and winds. If roads are passable, Lewis gets to come home at 8am. I just need to hold it together until then.” Feeling her concern and exhaustion through her texts, I specifically prayed for Jesus to be right there with her.
Her text the next morning blessed me, “It’s morning and we have power which I find totally amazing considering that there are still 193,000 without power and we are always the first to lose power. I am extremely humbled by God’s grace! I fell asleep on the couch at 2:30 and just woke up a few minutes ago. Thanks for all the prayers. I believe the worst is over for us. Hopefully Lewis will be home in an hour.” And Lewis arrived home as we were texting. And oh, how I thanked Jesus for meeting Patty and her family in the storm!
We’ve seen this week the damage Hurricane Sandy has caused the east coast and the people who call it home. Many of our neighbors to our east are living out a nightmare. There’s no food, no water, no gasoline. Many still don’t have electricity and running water. Homes and businesses have been destroyed. Lives have been turned upside-down. Water and sand seem to be everywhere…and where they shouldn’t be. And just to think this is all happening to our east! I understand this may be all too familiar to some of you…as we know first-hand the devastating effects the weather can cause, as some of us in this very room lived through the flood of 2008 here. Some of you are still feeling the effects of that flood. No doubt many on the east coast will be feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy for a very long time.
Maybe you are in the middle of your own storm yourself right now. It may not be a Hurricane Sandy, but it sure might feel like it. You’ve been tossed around by life. You’ve been battered by life’s winds. Drenched in sorrow. Up to your nose in a situation that feels hopeless. You’re hanging on for dear life. Trying to swim ashore. Trying to find something solid to stand on, or a life-preserver to cling to. You may feel like you’re drowning. And you could very well be asking the same thing the disciples asked, the same thing many on the east coast may be asking…Where is Jesus?
(Continued in Part 3 tomorrow…)
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