Devastation from hurricanes and tropical storms just keeps coming. As residents of Texas and Louisiana are still recovering, residents of Florida and Georgia now have a visual of what to expect. (Not that Floridians aren’t used to this. I’ve heard more than one person talk about Hurricane Parties that they are accustomed to having in Florida.) Nonetheless, fear’s presence is evident in the traffic buildups from evacuations.
I don’t pretend to understand what current and future hurricane victims are going through and will go through in the coming weeks and months. But my heart hurts for these victims.
I know that some have to be asking, “Why would a good God allow this to happen?”
I know that some must feel powerless over their situation, when nature seems so powerful.
I know that some must be tempted to give up hope.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
From this passage in Romans 8, we learn that creation itself suffered as a result of the fall of humanity. In our news reports today, we see the proof that “the whole creation has been groaning together,” in the uprooting of homes and lives.
23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Here Paul describes our own “groaning,” our expression of a desire to be made whole. Friends, the reason we feel so much pain in this world is because this world is not meant to be our final destination.
Victims of natural disasters may not see hope right now. Instead, they may see the homes they grew up in destroyed. They may see the futures they had imagined in pieces, or even floating down their streets.
But our hope is in the unseen. Our hope is beyond sight, beyond touch, beyond sound. It is the anchor of our souls (Hebrews 6:19).
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Maybe you’re grieving right now, and you don’t know how to approach God with your grief. Maybe you’re scared out of your mind that you might lose all familiarity and security in your life.
The good news is that we don’t have to know what to say to God. He Himself, through His Spirit, understands our hearts and speaks on our behalf.
Fortunately, we also have God’s Word as a model of what we can pray. Someone shared this verse in response to Hurricane Harvey, and I hope it might serve as encouragement to those of you who don’t know what to pray over this situation.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
The Grace Scripts community is praying for those who these storms will affect.