Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thinking About Ike

I just got home from seeing Julie and Julia with a friend. This friend sheepishly confessed to me once we were sitting in our big theater seats with our salty popcorn and fizzy Mr. Pibs that this would be her second time to see it. Silly me! Sweet friend! Now I wish I would have bought her ticket. I loved the movie. I'm hesitant to say that because when you go see it and realize it was rated PG-13 for a reason, I don't want you to be mad at me. I thought it was a wonderful movie and it makes marriage look like the greatest thing in the world, with food coming in at a close second. When I got home I was understandably hungry after all the images of delicious French meals I'd just seen. So I microwaved a Lean Cuisine. Bon appetit!

I'm about to completely change gears. Ready? Okay.

Today was the first anniversary of Hurricane Ike. I know it didn't make a huge impact on our nation as a whole (although gas prices skyrocketed and the economy did collapse shortly after), but it seriously impacted our city. Southeast Texans now benefit from a keen awareness of how fragile our society is. I no longer put my hope and trust in our government to provide for us in an emergency. It's very humbling to know how quickly everything can crumble. Grocery stores were emptied. (What they did have was the bizarre stuff we'd never buy, like organic peanut butter. Oh help me!) Gas pumps were sucked dry. Traffic lights were dead, causing awful delays everywhere we went.

The rich and poor alike had no electricity. I heard the story of a wealthy woman who volunteered in a stew-cooking truck during the day, then got in line with the rest of humanity to receive that same meal at night. Not that things were equal during the aftermath between people with means and without. The privileged could head out of town and hole up in hotels while others dealt with the heat and humidity in their darkened homes. I was well aware of how blessed we were to be able to escape to my parents' ranch 7 hours away from the storm.

On one freeway there was a billboard that I always meant to write about. (Houston is the city of billboards, in case you didn't know.) Its layers had been stripped away until the perfect image of an old Houston Post advertisement could be seen. The Post closed down in 1995. The colors on the ad were a lot more neon than we would ever use today, if I'm remembering correctly. The billboard remained undisturbed for several months and I always loved driving by it. It was an unexpected peek into the past. Those billboards are like time capsules, I suppose.

What I really want to do right now is re-post something I wrote after Hurricane Ike late last September.

There is a Rescuer

The National Weather Center issued the stern warning to those living on the coast: "Those living in one or two-story single family homes must evacuate or face certain death." It was debated whether the wording was too dramatic. For some, maybe it was, but the words were sadly appropriate for what may amount to hundreds of others. Unbelievably large numbers of people did not heed the warning. They wanted to stay with their homes and be able to protect their belongings after the storm. What they didn't consider was that there would be nothing left to save, regardless of their presence. The hurricane would not make landfall until Saturday, but they didn't plan on the storm surge reaching the coast as early as Friday afternoon. With the sun still shining, the gulf waters began overtaking Bolivar Peninsula, making a last minute evacuation impossible for hundreds of people. They drank in the sight of water covering the roadways and were forced to swallow the bitter pills of regret and dread. They called for help, but only a fraction could be rescued before the winds became too strong for the helicopters. They called their loved ones and said, "I made a mistake. I'm really in trouble here." They were helpless. And their loved ones are left traumatized. Emergency operators would receive countless calls for help during the storm. They would not be able to offer any hope. It was too late. In complete and utter darkness, people were swept to sea in their own homes. Their broken, swollen bodies are currently being recovered all along the coast amid debris, alligators, water moccasins, and swarms of mosquitoes. The Houston Chronicle reports that hundreds of people are unaccounted for. You can go to their web site and search the names and faces of missing fathers, mothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sons and daughters. It is horrifying.

In the midst of this, while many in this region remain mercifully unaware due to lack of power and/or cable TV, our country is on the verge of financial disaster. And while the coast is still cleaning up, we will elect a new president and proceed to change administrations in the middle of a war. Simply put, it is all very scary.

People, look around and see that the storm surge of Hell is rising around us. It is lapping at the Sea Wall. It is beginning to flood the only road off the island. We stand on the decks of our fancy beach homes built on sand and watch the water rising, submerging the pillars we trusted to keep us safe. We've already been warned of disaster. Scripture says "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). And "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Our sin - the thing inside us that makes us do wrong - has earned us spiritual death, an eternity apart from God. Indeed, an eternity in hell. The hell on earth around us now is only a shadow of what is to come when we will reap the terrible harvest of the sin we sowed on this earth. It is a dire message. A terrible thing to have to hear. But true.

My friends, the good news is that we still have time to call the Emergency Operator and ask to be saved. While the Bible says that we deserve death, it also says "But the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). We can call upon Jesus to save us - from ourselves and from the unquenchable fire of hell that is eager to overtake us all. There is a way out, but there is only one way.
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Call on Jesus.

"Therefore [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens." (Hebrews 7:25-26)

Jesus made a way for us to be saved when He came to earth and lived a perfect life. He was fully man and at the same time fully God. He was completely without sin. He laid down His life for us while we were still doing everything wrong and spitting in His face. He loved us that much. He was tortured, then nailed to a cross and died. On that cross He bore the wrath of God for all of humanity's sin. He suffered and died in our place.

He was resurrected on the third day and appeared to many men. This is one of the most well documented facts in history. All of time revolves around His resurrection. At this moment He sits on a throne in Heaven next to God. He waits for us to call upon Him for salvation, to surrender our lives to Him, to put our hope and trust in Him. Romans 9:10-12 says, "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.'" He waits with open arms for the Saved, the Forgiven, the Rescued to enter into the splendor of an eternity with Him. There, the foundation is solid and there is no fear. There is only joy and the fulfillment of every need of your immortal soul in the presence of the One who created you.

Just like the hundreds of people who died needlessly when they did not heed the evacuation orders on the coast, we will suffer in hell needlessly if we do not take Jesus Christ up on His offer of salvation. What? You think you don't deserve to be rescued? Well no one does. It is all by grace, no matter how "good" you seemed or how "bad" you were. What? You want to stay in your house and protect all that you've gathered for yourself on this earth? It will all be destroyed anyway. What? Your husband won't go with you? You'd rather stay behind with him and ride it out? How foolish. Take your children and go. Call upon His name before it is too late.

Hurricane Hell is in the gulf. It is churning. It will certainly make landfall for each of us, but we are not given a forecast. We do not know when it will hit, but we do know that it brings with it "certain death." Will we say the warning is too stern? Or will we call upon the Savior and be rescued?

18 comments:

Lori, Landon and Logan said...

I think you did a great job on this post, but I have to let you know we eat organic peanut butter.
You might be surprised but it's so much yummier!
My most recent motto: Every time you show someone love, you bring them a little closer to trusting God and believing in His Son.

Moose Mama said...

Loved Julie and Julia too...you're right, such a sweet love story. I hope they really were that happy. How close did you come to crying when she found out her sister was expecting? Had to get the tissue out....sniff.

I remember your Ike story well, from last year. Still can't read it without crying.

Melana in Wyoming

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What a great post and a great reminder....thanks for sharing it again..

Fran said...

What a meaningful post on 2 levels1! I am a Gulf Coast resident, remembering Ivan about this time of the year. I can also remember the time when I did not know Jesus Christ. A figurative hurricane in my life brought me to my knees and to my Savior and I am and have been so, so richly blessed with a life that is all about Him! This is a beautiful piece of truth that you have written, Amanda. I hope it ends up in the hands of many, especially those who do not yet know Him and are hungering for that which is Jesus Christ.

Lauren Kelly said...

Beautifully written, Amanda!!

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

I remember you writing about Ike. I've never been through anything like that and can't even pretend like I know what it would be like... it's almost surreal to think about.

On a much lighter note, I absolutely LOVED Julie and Julia. I went to an old, historic theater in downtown Chattanooga just because I wanted to see it in a interesting atmosphere. And do you know that, ever since I saw it, I've put my pearls on before cooking? Every. Single. Time.

Of course, I haven't cooked all that often in the last two weeks. But whatever. You get the point. ;)

Marla Taviano said...

I distinctly remember that post, Amanda. Loved it then, love it now.

We lost a huge tree during Ike--way up here in Ohio. Our only tree in our front yard--perfect for shade and climbing and flowers and beauty. I'm still sad about a year later. But the gaping hole it left serves to remind me how blessed I still am.

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

WOW Amanda you left me speechless this is a powerful message. I wished alot more people would heed that warning about there is storm brewing in the gulf about hell and we need to hear the warning! The emergency operator that we have that we can call and be saved! Thanks Amanda powerful post and Love you , you are an amazing woman of God just like your sweet mom you all are an encouragement in my life bringing us closer to God everyday thank you MOORE WOMEN FOR LOVIN US SEISTA'S AND KEEPIN US ON TRACK WITH OUR SAVIOUR AND OUR ONE AND ONLY WHO IS OUR LIFE PRESERVE. YOU MO-JO-FITZ WOMEN ROCK OUR WORLDS ALONG WITH OUR HEAVENLY FATHER
Love Carol Albuq.NM

Erin said...

I'm glad you re-posted that sister!

lori said...

great post and great re post
And I really wanna see that movie.

melanie said...

thanks for bringing it, friend! you are such an encouragement to me. have a great week!

sos said...

You have such great posts--I look forward to reading/viewing each one. I appreciate you include scripture--I just started using the free ref tagger at logos.com (best bible software...IMO) http://www.logos.com/reftagger

The photos are so heartwarming and such a blessing to be with family. Must have meant the world to hubby.
Keep on posting Amanda! and share the love.

Bobbie said...

I loved Julie & Julia-laughing and crying through it all. Realizing that she didn't begin her career until she was in her 50's says there's still hope for me!!

We arrived in College Station on Sept. 8th last year and sat through Ike in a hotel that was full of evacuees from the Houston area. We ended up staying there for 7 weeks while our house was being finished and so did a large group of the Houstonians! It was very hard seeing them come and go and hear their stories about the damage they faced when they went home to see what was left. Thanks for the "re-post", Amanda.

Yankee Mama said...

I want to see that movie! My hubby wouldn't go see it with me on our date night.:)

I remember that post-it was a powerful one.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Awesome, Amanda. I liked this last time too.

1 - we eat organic PB too. Or I get it straight from the peanut machine. Only because the other kind has partially hydrogenated junk, which you should probably know is from the devil. It doesn't taste as good, no. But it is not possessed by evil spirits like good ole Jif is. Ah. I miss good ole Jif.

2 - I loved Julie and Julia. So I came home and researched the truth behind it, and the Julie character? Who was so sweet and winsome and in love with her husband in the movie? Yeah. So false.

For one thing, the real blog, which you can find online, goes off on tons of leftist political rants and drops F bombs like crazy. And then, her book that is about to come out is about how she cheated on her husband after the Julie and Julia book came out. I KNOW. So disappointing.

Geezees Geezees Custom Canvas Art said...

Great post...i also loved Julia and Julia!!

Lindsee said...

Oh! I want to see Julie and Julia so bad. Along with Time Traveler's Wife, Love Happens, and so on and so forth. Maybe this weekend I'll make it to the movies!

I've been thinking about IKE so much this weekend. A year ago I was still sitting in a dark house, and would be for the next two weeks! We forget how blessed we are until we simply don't have air conditioning or electricity. And it could be so much worse.

I'm also reminded of it because my parents still have yet to fix our beloved fence. The view of the bayou behind us is just too breathtaking to cover up with a fence! HA!

katiegfromtennessee said...

I remember this post, Amanda, and I was thinking about Ike the other day when I read about how Galveston was rebuilding...it is that urgent for us to warn others of dying without Christ...

katiegfromtennessee