The hurricane struck on a Monday, and we had front row seats to the catastrophe. Hurricane George, one of the century’s deadliest storms with sustained winds of over 150 mph, ripped through Puerto Rico like a chainsaw-wielding monster.
When it was over, debris was everywhere. Electricity and running water were nowhere. We surveyed the wreckage and our eyes glazed over. On a small and narrow street containing nearly identical homes, how could the damage be so disparate from one house to the next? One home’s back porch had collapsed. Another’s cement wall had crumbled. Five trees had skewed the house across the street; less than 20 feet away, the trees in our yard remained upright.
Job declares that God does great things beyond understanding, and marvelous things without number…I do not perceive him (vv. 10, 11). Why does so much suffering exist in the world? Why does chaos have its way with us? Realities we can’t explain lead us to grapple with questions about who God is.
After we took in the puzzling trail of wreckage, our stunned collective silence turned to light chatter. The chatter turned into conversation. The conversation led to planning. By dusk, a neighborhood barbecue was in the works. We would have plenty of time to sort out the next steps and ponder why the storm traveled the way it did. But first it was time to eat and give thanks. We couldn’t make sense of the storm by seeing into the past, and we couldn’t see what the road ahead looked like. All that was clear was that we had each other.
When have you experienced circumstances that could not be clearly explained? What did that experience teach you about God and living with faith?
God, though the earth may shake and the wind may howl, help us not lose sight of the gifts in front of us. No matter what our circumstances may be, help us live for you and build community with those around us. Amen.