It's been over a month since Hurricane Irene visited us here in upstate New York. While progress is being made, things are far from being back to normal. As time passes, I have had more opportunity to reflect on what did and what could have happened and consequently I have gained a greater appreciation of God's love. As I look around the outside of our house and see the evidences of how the water traveled I am awestruck at all the little things that worked together to keep our home not only in tact but dry. Even the insurance adjuster called it a "miracle" house. God is good.
As I reflect on things, I realize that God allowed Irene into our lives not to punish us but simply because we were where we were. Maybe you would like a better reason than this, but if you live near a creek and are just above the hundred year flood plain, you are not going to escape a five hundred year flood should it occur. In other words, our house got flooded as did others in the area, just because it was where it was. God tells us in 1 Corinthians10:13 that believers will go through difficult times as will those who do not know God. However, the difference is that God tempers things so that we will not be overwhelmed if we trust in Him. My thought then has turned from why this happened to what can I learn from this. As I have done this several things have come to mind.
First of all, God has been showing me that He loves me and wants my love. Before Irene incidents had occurred that had me fretting and concerned. I even blogged about them calling them "little foxes". Through them all I felt God was whispering, "Do you love me enough to trust me?" I was struggling with this and in my opinion I was beginning to surrender this area of my life to God's keeping. I began to make that commitment to love and trust Him more. I thought I had made good strides. Then came Irene, and God's prompting to love Him more was renewed in earnest. Since then my resolve has received daily testing as new problems and concerns arise. Daily, is the temptation to doubt God's love and provision. Daily, I am reminded of the miracle of our house that is standing. Daily, I am reminded of God's love. If God could preserve our house why do I doubt that He will work out the minor details in due time? I thank God for love His for me, His child, and in so doing, I ask Him to help me to love Him more each day.
Irene taught me also to not measure my days according to my losses, but instead trust God for what He gives. The night following Irene we were unable, due to flood waters, to get near enough to our house to determine its status. I spent a sleepless night wondering what we woulud fing when the waters receded. Towards morning came this thought. It was not for me to dwell on my losses rather to look to God and be thankful for what He was giving us back. Consequently, I was able to look past the torn up yard, the totaled car, the decimated garage and damaged front porch and be thankful that the four corners of the house were square and the house was still standing on a solid foundation. My heart lept with joy when I entered the house and saw all that was inside was safe.
Irene also reminded me of how temporary or earthly homes are. We are not called to be citizens of this world but rather to be citizens of heaven. All here below is temporary. All we have could be lost in an instant in a flood or other catastrophic event. Many in our area lost so much more than I did, but they are starting to rebuild. However, even with the rebuilding, nothing is permanent.1 Peter reminds us that this world will come to an end. My fleshly body will come to an end. But, there is more. Eternity is more. Without eternity, life would be futile--meaningless. Christ is the key to eternity. He is our only Hope.
I think the most important lesson from Irene, is that I need to keep my focus on God. Men will let me down. Promises are made then broken, but the God Who has shown Himself faithful continues to do so. Daily we are reminded of His faithfulness. There are the big things such as the miraculous preservation of our house, but there are the little things as well. God is good. God is faithful. He sent His Son to take my place at Calvary. He will care for all my needs. No hurricane can separate me from His love.