Saturday, November 18, 2006

Cleaning Up After the Storms

When my family lived in the Cayman Islands we would often walk along a beach after major storms. We would see flotsam and Jetsam, boulders and beams tossed upon the beach – or even still bouncing on the waves. The power of the sea would amaze us once again. But all that stuff is debris, “the remains of anything broken down or destroyed; ruins; rubble.” When we have major storms in our lives; we usually have debris after the storm. WE have rubble in our lives. It may be relationships that need to be restored – or abandoned; it may be bills to be cleared up; a reputation to rebuild. Maybe all we need to do is get around to those things which didn’t get taken care of while we were riding out the storm. Here’s a post-storm action list:

First, we need to give thanks to God for His goodness. Last week we looked at a big storm at sea as related to us in the Gospels. When that storm was finally over, the sailors, recognizing what was happening, responded appropriately. In Matthew 14:32-33, it’s described this way: “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God". They were rescued – and they worshipped the God of the universe. They recognized Him – and they worshipped.

At our church in Maine we’ve been talking in our evening services about worship. What does it mean to worship Jesus? It’s not just music; it’s not just tithes and offerings; not just showing up on Sundays. It’s being reverent toward Him; adoring Him; seeking to learn more about Him; wanting to follow Him. At this moment, those sailors worshiped and gave thanks – as we should do; not only after major storms, but at all times.

Second, we need to assess the damage. Only the most foolhardy will wipe their brow and say, phew; lucked out,” then forget it. The prudent will look around after a crisis – maybe with some professional help. He/she will attempt to prevent a recurrence.

Third, mend your nets. Repair your masts. Get prepared. Jesus cares for us. He reaches out to help us; but we still manage to get ourselves in more trouble. We need to be ready for the next storm; the next Katrina. How do you weather storms? By preparing for them before they happen. The time to buy the duct tape and the plywood is before the hurricane hits. A daily routine that includes prayer and reading of God’s Word won’t make all of the storms veer around you, but it can make the storms easier to ride out.

It’s Thanksgiving week. Let’s all strive to make every week Thanksgiving Week. Enjoy the floats, the food, the football, and the family. Don’t forget, however, The One who is responsible for all good things.