Friday, September 08, 2017
Our Prayer Regarding Irma
We come to You with hearts that are yearning and needful. We are truly grateful for the truths in Your Holy Word regarding the love and compassion You lavishly demonstrate in countless ways. You also, Oh Lord, are the powerful creator and sustainer of all things.
Lord, You are never absent in a storm like Irma. Indeed You are ever present in that storm... and though it turns within the properties of nature that You designed, it also swirls in the majestic control of Your mighty hand.
Father, I am like most humans in that I don't understand that... and if I am honest I don't like that. But I am so thankful that You have many promises that we can cling to when life doesn't make sense or when we don't like it.
You are so patient as we cry out in misunderstanding and dissatisfaction.
Lord, if I am honest I will say to You that what Paul says in Romans is true... but frustrating...
"But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?'  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? (Romans 9:20-21 ESV)
So Father, we pray for Your will and Your mercy. We understand that this storm has already struck places and many calamities fall in different ways everyday. Your love stands true in the midst of any human condition. Your gracious offer of eternal salvation to all who call upon Your name far outweighs even the darkest human story.
But Lord, You also encourage us to pray... to wrestle with You... to knock... to seek... to ask.... You encourage us to pray in faith and You teach us to pray in unity of numbers and perseverance.
And ultimately, we trust Your every answer.... sometimes "Yes", sometimes "No", and sometimes "Not yet". We know that Your ways are not our ways and Your purposes are just and Your acts are good.
We bow before You as sinners. We come before You as a people who often ignore You and cling to idols who offer nothing but lies.
And yet, Your heart is still so full of compassion. You demonstrated Your love in space, time, and history.
 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8 ESV)
So Father, we cry out to You- the ONE WHO CAN turn the storm called Irma and we ask that even as Your people pray, the steering winds would pull north and east and steer the mighty creation of Your majesty out to sea.
Father, if it be Your will to not relent in that way- we know that You are gracious and loving. Your children know how to pray as Job prayed, "Though he slay me, I will hope in him" (Job 13:15 ESV)
We also pray Lord that You would move the hearts of Your people to rally to the needs of others. We thank You for 1st Responders and countless thousands of others who give cups of water and words of healing in Your Holy Name right in the darkest places of human suffering.
Lord, when You move the storm... may many people recognize Your mercy and fall their knees in thanks. We know the skeptics will mock and jeer.... they will say that it is only soul-less 'science' and resist You in hardened rebellion.
But Lord, may they even see Your majesty and peace and patience and love while the door of mercy is still open.
So Lord, Your people pray and we wait. We are not helpless or hopeless. May we be found dressed- clothed in the righteousness of Jesus- ready to respond to Your call in the peace that passes all understanding and the power of Your Holy Spirit.
So thank You for even the privilege the pray... to ask that You move the storm so that all the world may see Your ways and be amazed.
In The Name of The King of Kings and Lord of Lords... Jesus Christ.
In some ways I had to chuckle that my prayer to steer the storm northeast, ended up going northwest with the eye coming right over my city....
But the command to pray, the call to pray, the collective power of prayer has not changed.
God is Lord and I am not- and my trust in Him never wavers.
His plans have very little to do with me and yet, He is ever mindful of my needs moment by moment.
I see the storm so far as very merciful in terms of what could have happened- and God's people are ever present and helping. Thank you to all of those heroes that we never hear about... God sees you!
The Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to All generations!
How does one Biblically respond to a Hurricane?
#1 God is in control- He was not absent from the storm. He was the fury of it. He was the pilot of it. Nothing happens outside of His sovereignty.
#2 The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt 5). Irma represented judgement for some and graduation to heaven for others. See Jesus commentary in Luke 13 on human disaster. The question is always- "Am I ready for my death?"
#3 God is love and compassionate. In the storm, is also God's love. It is the same love shown on the cross. Where was God when Irma struck? He was in the same place as when His Son hung on the cross. He is in control and full of love.
#4 For the believer. tragedy is turned to triumph. Rom, 8:28 promises that all things work for good. How can that be? The reaction to the tragedy shows God's truth. It shows mans depraved nature (Rom 3:23) in the looting and crime. It shows the existence of God in how we value life (we spend money and risk lives to save lives). It gives God's people a chance to show compassion (II Corin 1). It wakes us up from trivial lives of idolatry.
What is more comforting? Irma with no God in control or Irma being used by God to fulfill His purposes?
How you answer that question shows what risk you have taken for eternity.
See Joseph's faith in Genesis 50.
Psalm 74:9 You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. 10 Human opposition only enhances your glory, for you use it as a sword of judgment.