Many people in our mountain village have friends or family affected by Hurricane Ian. The damage and casualty reports are disturbing. This is an opportunity for people of faith to love our neighbors, some of whom escaped only with their lives.
The mountains are not immune to hurricanes. No storm surge happens at elevation 2000 feet, but high winds do. In 1995, Opal swept across North Georgia downing trees and powerlines. In 2018, we had some wind damage from Michael.
That calls to mind a remarkable post-Michael image from Mexico Beach, FL. The 160 mph winds and 14 ft deep storm surge destroyed over 800 homes and buildings. The aerial image shows a solitary home standing intact along a devasted beach front. Dr. Lebron Lackey built the home in excess of building codes – deeper foundations, stronger building materials, and a floodproof design. He expected the house to face a storm like Michael someday.
That’s not a bad approach to building a beach home. It’s a great approach to life. Just as beach and mountain will face the torrents of weather, you can expect to face adversity in this life. That’s reality. You can spend your life simply hoping nothing bad happens, or you can prepare as though it will.
Jesus offers the way to prepare. “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them,” He said, “I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built” (Luke 6:47-48). What were His words meant for you to act on? Love your enemy. Turn the other cheek. Treat others the way you want to be treated. “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart,” Jesus summarized, “brings forth what is good” (Luke 6:45).
Adversity is your opportunity to bring forth good from a good heart. But wait! “Only God is good,” Jesus said. “The heart is more deceitful than all else,” Jeremiah declared. The source of a good heart is this: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature,” (2 Cor. 5:17). Through faith in the Lord Jesus and by his grace, you have a new perspective, a new heart.
Here’s the point. With a new heart set right with God, you build resilience by hearing and acting on the words of Jesus. You know life on this earth is not all of reality, nor does adversity have the final say. You rise above it as a loving, trusting, secure man or woman of God, and are not shaken when the torrent bursts against you.