It’s been an intense week in Florida. The news informed us last Monday that a Category 5 hurricane was approaching and, within hours, the local grocery stores ran out of bottled water…6 days before the storm ever touched US soil. There was a mad rush on hotel reservations throughout the southeast region of the country as the masses prepared for the record breaking exodus that ensued. People complained about traffic on highways and obscenely long lines at gas stations…neglecting to notice the lack of gratitude that we actually had a safe place to which we could evacuate, if we so chose.
As soon as Irma began making headlines, I shuddered in fear for what this storm could mean for Haiti…for what it MUST mean for Haiti. This massive hurricane was barreling directly toward the little island with virtually no possibility of missing it. Northern Haiti, where the property of FPSM lies, seemed hopelessly destined to face the storm’s worst. As the days passed and the storm crept closer, I felt deep fear and utterly powerless.
Then, incredibly, the unthinkable happened. God literally spared Haiti. This massive storm that could have meant utter devastation for an entire people group quite literally passed by northern Haiti. And all I could breathe was a deep sigh of praise to God. It was unthinkable…shocking!…and it was grace.
But isn’t that just how grace works? Doesn’t it have the tendency of arriving just when you’ve come to the end of yourself and realized that you can’t actually control the thing that you thought you could? Doesn’t it remind you that you’re not actually as amazing and self-sufficient as you’ve led the world (and yourself) to believe?
I don’t know about you, but gigantic storms tend to humble me. They remind me of my size, which I conveniently forget…over and over again. They shine a floodlight on my actual powerlessness and my desperate need for grace.
There are some things that can only be earned. I like these things because they feel predictable. They affirm the lie that I am in control and that I’m actually capable of keeping myself safe. There are other things that can never be earned, therefore they’re not predictable. Grace falls into this later category. No one could have predicted that God would show mercy on Haiti and literally spare the precious inhabitants of this desolate island.
As we lift up the men, women, and children of America who are currently dealing with this storm and its aftereffects, let us fall to our knees and praise the God of the storm, the giver of all gifts, and the One who literally created the concept of grace. I know I need it, in the storms that can be charted on the Weather Channel and, even more so, the ones that wage within my heart.