In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, we’re seeing heroic rescue efforts and exhausting work to feed and repair and clear and rebuild. Churches are holding special times of prayer, and many are reaching out to help the suffering in Jesus’ name.
I would encourage one more activity, and that may look like no activity at all. Let us simply pause in God’s presence and admit that he is in control and we never will be.
Amid pictures of cars submerged in flooded parking garages, yachts tossed aside like discarded toys, and whole subdivisions blown or burned away, consider all that will not happen because of this storm. Consider all the plans and projects that have been changed if not abandoned simply because of the wind and the rain. What can shut down the New York Stock Exchange? What can interrupt a contested presidential campaign a few days before the election? What can eliminate fortunes and snuff out lives? The weather. Just the weather.
We busy ourselves with duties and dreams as if we are the masters of our fate. And sometimes we forget that all we achieve is by God’s grace. His power is greater than anything we can muster. We conceive; he controls.
I was thinking about this yesterday when we received the shocking news that Mark Koerner had suddenly passed away. Mark had served as alumni director at Cincinnati Christian University several years after retiring from a distinguished career in public education. He was a respected churchman and an accomplished administrator. And CCU President David Faust had just tapped him for full-time administrative help to free himself for time to do crucial fund-raising.
Here in Cincinnati, many are reacting in the same way many across the country responded to the sudden and surprising death of Don Jeanes, retired Milligan College president, earlier this year. We are shocked and shaken.
I certainly can’t explain why such godly men are taken when their work on earth seems unfinished. Only the One in control has those answers. But as I ponder the list of losses so many have experienced this week, I am stripped of any assurance I may have harbored about how much more I will accomplish for God or for myself.
My efforts to take control are all in vain. My template for serving him exists only as long as he patiently allows it. Mine is the duty to “redeem the time” (see Ephesians 5:16), because this moment is all I can guarantee.
“Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea—the Lord on high is mighty” (Psalm 93:4). A terrible storm and a tragic death remind me that I most certainly am not.