“Disastrophe” is a family word coined by one of our sons when he was about four. (Being hit by three large hurricanes within six weeks was definitely a disastrous catastrophe!) In 2004, Charley, Frances, and Jeanne came to visit. Charley tore much of our roof off on August 14th. Frances left a hole and water damage in the house. Jeanne arrived on September 25th. Our lives weren’t the same for months afterward as we cleaned, repaired, and tossed.
If you asked us if we would like to spend seven solid hours hunched over in the crawl space of our home with just an inch or two of wood separating us from hurricane-force winds, I’m sure we would have turned down the offer. That is, however, what our family did in the summer of 2004 as the third hurricane to rip up our roof banged and tore at our remaining shingles. We fashioned forty-one containers from anything imaginable and carried down at least five gallons of water out of the attic. Today, we still have several stains on our ceilings, but the backache the day after Hurricane Jeanne visited was worth it. We didn’t have any more holes in our ceilings like the unwanted “skylight” in our kitchen which brought water in the house during Hurricane Frances.
I remember when I was running errands during those six weeks and afterwards in 2004, people were very open to talking about God with me. We may think we have no time to share your faith, but when needs arise we seem to find that time we didn’t have before.
A friend, Janey N., made these comparisons to sharing in disasters to sharing our faith every day:
When a disaster strikes a community:
1. We can change our schedules.
2. We can do whatever it takes to meet the needs of the moment for the lost, damaged, and dying.
3. Anyone can talk about the hurricanes because everyone is talking about hurricanes (or the tsunami, or the bombings, or the shootings, . . .).
Am I available to respond to people who need Christ?
1. Do I need to change my schedule?
2. Am I willing to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of the lost and perishing?
3. Am I aware of what is happening on a small or large scale that may open conversations to spiritual things?
P.S. Another one of the many lessons I learned is the assurance that God may actually be doing a greater work even when I feel chained by limitations and circumstances. (All I could do for months was either hurricane-related or just the basics of our lives. It took years of recovery to deal with all our repairs.) I may not know until I’m in Heaven what God was doing. (This thought ties in with a recent post.)
NOTES: We had more damage than I mentioned, plus damage to both of our cars. I also like to tease that we were hit by Hurricane Josh because he brought all the shelving down in our Master Bedroom closet between Frances and Jeanne, so we had to replace, repair, and paint the closet. You can see more photos in our Online photo album.
The map shows how the eyes of three hurricanes passed very close to us. The insets show our roof and also a local billboard.
Recommended: If you or a friend are going through a disastrophe, you might want to check out: