06 February 2008

The Mercies of God

Last night the storm that went through my hometown was incredible. Three separate times the tornado sirens went off beckoning us all to find sturdy shelter. I don't have a basement or a storm cellar so the safest place for me is the walk-in closet in my bedroom. I knew it was going to be a rough night so I put a nice comfy bench for me to sit on, threw some pillows on the floor for my little dog and made certain my cell phone and some water were on the shelf.

I have a weather radio and a television in my bedroom. The local television channels take over programming during dangerous weather events and show us pictures of Doppler radar, warning communities based on projected storm paths. This particular storm acted as if it was on rails, a string of organized cells following the same pattern from Tennessee into Kentucky and right past my home. The wind howled, the lightning flashed and sitting my closet watching the television I prayed. I was warm, safe and dry but having worked in public safety for 17 years, I knew that there were people risking their lives to make certain others were safe. I prayed for them.

Between the sirens and the weather radio alarm warnings I didn't get much in the way of sleep, but I am not complaining. It just reminded me of the times I was doing my job in service to others. I thoroughly enjoyed my public safety career. I have been through earthquakes, Loma Priata to name one; floods where we shopped by canoe from the local grocery store in order to feed the emergency workers; fires that burned in excess of 12,000 acres and multiple homes were lost, and crimes that made national news and are dramatized and re-examined on cable television programs. I have had an incredible life. Lord willing, it will continue to be incredible for a while longer.

It's good to take inventory of your life and see God's faithfulness to you. He saw me through a childhood from hell. He has kept me safe, even when I have behaved foolishly. When I lost everything I owned in a flood and was bitter because I was helping others save their possessions at the sacrifice of my own, He helped me remember what was really important. Were it not for His loving care I could be stuck my own private hell, remembering the horrible and gut-wrenching calls for help I have taken over the years. I cannot imagine remembering them without resting in a Sovereign God who is morally perfect and holy.

So as I sit here thanking Him for attending to my safety once again, I want someone to read this and know if they are discouraged that they are right, life can be hard- but it is not without hope. And maybe things will never be the same, but that can be better....even when you cannot see a way that it could ever come to pass. My life is proof of this. He is worthy of your trust and your hope. If you are a Christian, hold fast to His promises. If you are not a Christian, while you still have breath, there is hope that you will repent and by faith believe.

Psalm 40:17 Since I am afflicted and needy, let the Lord be mindful of me; Thou art my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.

Psalm 121:1-3
1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come?
2 My help {comes} from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.

1 Corinthians 15:1-14
1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,
2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
8 and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
11 Whether then {it was} I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.

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