Monday, March 10, 2014

After the Disaster

Monday, March 10, 2014
I’ve had a lot of time to think about Noah this past week.  A month ago I’d chosen to preach from Genesis 9 for yesterday; it’s the account of God’s promise to Noah (and us) after the flood business was all done.  By Wednesday the sermon was all ready…or so I thought!  Then, Thursday night we were exposed to one of North Carolina’s ice parties.  Friday morning we awakened to this gem of a back yard (pictured above). 

And NO electricity!

For seasoned and prepared folk, it meant dragging-out the backup generator and carrying in some more wood for the fireplace.  For the Brownworth clan, well, we had our tiny gas log to stave off the new ice age.  It also meant we bagged up the contents of our thawing freezer and carried it next door to our kind neighbors who possess a generator.  Then we “hunkered-down” close to the gas log and munched on bread and whatever else we felt compelled to consume before the thaw ruined it.

In the end we stayed a night with our daughter and family 10 miles down the road; it was such a blessing to warm up, have a hot meal and shower-off the effects of 60+ hours without those conveniences we think indispensable.

Back to the yard

We have been living in our home for about 14 years.  What was once a wild tangle of trees had been cultivated over the years to become our little “sanctuary”.  Needless to say we are a little heartbroken and have a LOT of work ahead to restore some order.  But we are also grateful we were not harmed.  God is VERY good!

Noah & Russell

It is amazing what perspective you gain in unguarded moments – especially following times of stress or emergency.  As our life is beginning to get back to more routine, Noah is appearing in the mirror.  I see a lot clearer how helpless he must’ve felt as the boat tossed against the night storm.  Standing in the pre-dawn Friday morning, surveying our damage, every half minute or so there was a loud Crrraaaack, as another branch or tree trunk splintered and crashed to the ground.  I kept thinking:

Oh no…don’t…don’t go.  Not the cedars!
Stop…wait….I don’t…..Crrrraaaack!  Crash!
Helpless!  Can’t do a thing to stop it.  Sigh!

The loss of a few trees aside, I am so very grateful for the times I have been privileged to stand with friends, church and family members in the midst of their losses,
·        Sudden tragic death of a beloved father and grandfather
          ·        Home destroyed by fire
          ·        What remains of a family after suicide
          ·        Too many graves to count

I’ve been made so much stronger, encouraged so completely by the faith and resilience of others in their times of testing through helplessness.

After a disaster we have time to think about it all.  And we also have the opportunity to thank God for His goodness and grace in the midst of the mess, even when we haven’t got a clue as to the “why” of it all.

At this time of the year in the Christian calendar we are journeying through the Lenten season towards the disaster of “Good” Friday and the crucifixion, burial and darkness which covered the first disciples’ lives; their sanctuary had been taken by storm.

From this side of the resurrection we can cheer for them – hold on; it’s not the disaster you think it is…just wait a little bit.  This helplessness will pass; you’ll see!

Today…for you

But who’s cheering for us?  Who knows what we go through today?

Thanks be to God – it’s that same bunch of disciples we cheer for; they’re a great cloud of witnesses.  And they can see past the disaster!  So, go ahead – run your race today!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,  Hebrews 12:1  (NRSV)

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