It has been a weird week. I headed down to Florida planning to do some painting, yard work, and general handyman stuff on my parents’ home and as we headed down the specter of a tropical storm named Dorian was raised. At first, it looked like it might be a minor hurricane but it began to grow and pretty soon it was being talked about as the biggest Atlantic hurricane ever with a sharply defined eye headed straight for the Ft. Pierce/Vero Beach area where my parents lived. We fastened the storm shutters and got ready, and we waited.
And waited. And waited. And waited.
Dorian decided to expend all her energy on the Bahamas then head north toward the Carolinas. What was once a Category 5 storm dwindled to a 4, then a 3, now a 2, and began to inch north.
I saw a Facebook post rejoicing in the fact that God had spared Florida from the wrath of Dorian. I will have to admit, I am grateful that the storm stayed offshore and turned away from its original course. My dad spent a couple of weeks doing hurricane relief in Miami after Andrew decades ago, and this was bigger. Mom and dad are not well and the storm would have brought a level of havoc and destruction to the Treasure Coast that they are not ready to face.
Thank you, Lord!
But as we rejoice about the “salvation” of Florida it is easy to forget about the absolute destruction of our neighbors to the east. This monster storm, a true killer, sat over those islands for days. For reasons I don’t understand it just sat there bringing death and devastation to people that God loves just as much as he loves Floridians.
Why did God spare Florida and allow the utter destruction of the Bahamas? Were they more like Sodom and Gomorrah and thus more deserving of the judgment of God? Of course not. If you’ve been to Florida recently you know that it is hardly part of the Bible Belt. Even the Bible Belt isn’t really Bible Belt anymore, but Florida does not merit God’s preservation anymore than anyone else.
When you read this I will be on the road home, thankful for the goodness God showed my parents. But I am also confused as to why we were saved at the expense of people of the islands off the coast.
Life in a fallen world is weird and easy answers elude us. Our sovereign God knows, but his plan is beyond our understanding.
One thing is certain. Our rejoicing down here should be tempered with an understanding that we were were spared by the grace of God, not because we deserved it, and not because we are loved more than those who suffered the brunt of the storm.
I will forever rejoice over and be confused by this mercy from God.
Note: I assume Baptist Global Response (or DR?) will be headed to the Bahamas. I will be on the road for a couple of days but if someone gets the contact information on their efforts, post it.