Monday, December 18, 2006

Windstorms & Life Perspective

I haven’t been able to post in a few days because of the windstorm that struck the Puget Sound last Thursday. If you didn’t hear, after several days of rain a windstorm with gusts over 70 mph hit our area, blew over thousands of trees and disrupted electric service to over 1.5 million households. I just got my electricity back yesterday after about 3 days in the dark and cold. Many of my friends still don’t have power.

The sudden loss of electricity meant that there was no heat in the house, no grocery stores open, no gas stations operating, no restaurants available for a quick hot meal and no church open for worship. The first 24 hours were kind of refreshing as my wife and I enjoyed being at home together in front of a crackling fireplace and having an unexpected day off. The novelty wore off quickly.

All we lost was one tree and suffered damage to a fence gate. However, when we took a walk around the block and saw large trees that had crashed through the homes of neighbors and crushed their cars we began to feel grief over the losses others were experiencing. At this writing over 100 people have been hospitalized from carbon monoxide poisoning from using charcoal grills and gas generators inside their homes in the attempt to stay warm or to cook. Over a dozen people have died in storm related incidents.

Of course it has only been since 1880 that we have lived with the capabilities and subsequent dependencies related to electricity. For the centuries before 1880, a windstorm like we just experienced in the Northwest would have meant virtually nothing. Our use and enjoyment of electricity made its absence stark and difficult.

And so it is for many of us with respect to our relationship with God. Like electric current in our homes, the Presence of God’s Spirit in our lives brings light and power and capabilities that are unimaginable without His Presence. Because many of us have so embraced our relationship with God, His absence would be our greatest loss and would bring on a far-reaching personal crisis.

Our forefathers would have a hard time comprehending why a relatively brief windstorm would prove to be so disruptive to every day life precisely because they would never have experienced the power associated with having electricity. According to recent polls over 90% of those living in Puget Sound would also have a hard time comprehending why living without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is such a “big deal” because they have yet to experience His power associated with having a relationship with the “electrifying” God of the universe.
This is what Christmas is all about. A loving Creator personally came into a dark, cold and powerless world to bring light, love and redemption to all. I’m praying that you receive the Christmas “Presence” you most need this season.

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