Goodness Gracious

Hurricane Laura made landfall early last Thursday morning leaving major damage throughout Louisiana. It was about 4 a.m. when the storm began blowing through Natchitoches. I like many of you, watched on weather radar as the storm’s eye crossed over Sibley Lake. It was very discouraging to sit in the dark, listening to trees fall and power transformers blow after all our community has been through lately. It’s been a tough summer and I don’t know of anyone who wanted it to end with a hurricane.

The Storm left a good deal of damage, but the sun came up and brought encouragement with it. It’s hard to stay discouraged when you see neighbors walking down the street checking on neighbors. It was encouraging to see neighborhood children picking up sticks and assisting elderly neighbors along the street. I’m not sure about every neighborhood, but in many of them by noon the power saws were humming and cleanup was already underway. By Friday we were calling neighbors we didn’t know by their first name. What a blessing to see the community pulling together putting things back together!

Psalm 148 begins with, “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the heights above…” Later in verse 8 there’s the interesting phrase, “Praise the Lord for the stormy winds fulfilling His word.” I’m not sure of everything that phrase means, but it definitely means that God has a unique way of using even the storms of life to fulfill His promises and remind us of His goodness and grace.

Yes, storms and difficulties are some of life’s best teachers. They teach us that the material things of this world are replaceable and should be held loosely. On the other hand good friends and family are invaluable and worth holding close to the heart. Storms also provide us an opportunity to engage in life’s greatest joy, which is serving and blessing others rather than sitting idle in the heat and dark. Jesus himself said “I came to serve, not to be served.” (Mark 10:45) He was once asked what was the greatest commandment and He answered “to love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and the second, to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

I realize many are still struggling and dealing with damage from the storm. Please know that you are not alone and God’s grace is often only a prayer away. It’s interesting how bad storms seem to always be followed by good stories and unexpected blessings. One day we will tell stories about the year that started with a pandemic and ended with a hurricane. Hopefully our stories will include many highlights of God’s awesome goodness and grace!

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