Friday, November 04, 2005

After the Storm: From Darkness to Light

It's been a rough couple of weeks in Mirtown.

Wilma left quite a mess. Thousands of my fellow residents in South Florida are temporarily without homes due to damage to residences. Shelters are full. Some must close when school begins.

Please pray for our gov't and aid organizers, who need wisdom and skill and efficiency and compassion in dealing with this massive problem. Pray we will all be kind to one another and patient and mindful of our blessings,the many that remain even in the midst of loss. If your budget can take it, give to the Salvation Army, the SBC-NAMB, or to the Red Cross to help the dispossessed.

Now, to my main point, as I sit in a neighborhood still looking a bit trashed and worn and tired:

It's important to be thankful.

In good times, in bad times: Give thanks.

It's a cliche, yes, but count your blessings, my dears. Count them now before they flee or are taken away from you. Pray to keep them.

I have a roof. I have walls. I have a dry floor. I have power. (We only went without for 2 1/2 days.) I have no life lost in my family. I have no homes totally wrecked in my family. I have water and food in my fridge. I have not depleted my savings (although fixing the damage to my home and the wreck that is my garden is going to deplete that quite a bit, seems like.) My car is multiply-dented from a small tree falling on it. A part of my eaves is gone. A hurricane shutter that was pried loose by the fierce winds smashed some parts of the concrete and damaged the second-story walkway railing. I don't have cable, and that's another sort of blessing, I'm discovering. (Except, boy, do I miss the Sci-Fi channel.)

I have my home standing, safe, protective, and my family is well--unlike many.

I praise God for His manifold mercies. I thank him for all I have, when so many do without. God have mercy on all in this cruel world who are dealing with disasters of one sort or another--on the Gulf coast, in Florida, in Iraq, in Pakistan, in Niger, and on and on and on.

I was reading in Zechariah 14:6, a passage dealing with the yet to be revealed Day of the Lord:

"It shall come to pass in that day
That there shall be no light;
The lights will diminish"

It's a weird thing not to have lights. We're used to living with streetlights, porch lights, home lights, traffic lights. When they go out, the world is a dark, dark place. You can't see your hand in front of your face in your own home. The garden that is so welcoming in the sunlight becomes a place for dread prowlers and scary sounds.

Light is GOOD. God said so, Genesis, chapter one.

It's very, very, very good, says Miz Mir.

As frightening as the total dark was, there was one heart-lifting benefit: I saw the Milky Way for the first time in three decades. The last time was at a Christian teen retreat in the "wilds" of Florida City, which was a low-light-pollution town in the 1970's. Wow. I was dancing and jumping and whooping in my garden. My husband came out to enjoy the sight, too. So many stars. Stars we never see....until the lights go out.

I think for some of us, we don't see our blessings, how much we have that is valuable and good and worth thanking the Lord for, until the lights go out in some way.

*We lose our roof and realize how nice it was having a tight structure that kept out the rain.
*We lose our car, and realize how precious to have our own transportation, a sort of freedom many don't have.
*We lose a beloved tree, and remember how wonderful its shade was.
*We develop a chronic illness that plagues our every hour, and realize how little we thanked God for our health when we had it, and how easy it was to take such a blessing for granted.
*We lose loved ones, and wish we had them back to tell them how much, how very much, we appreciated all they were and did and said, how we miss their smiles.

~If you have a solid, safe roof...thank the Lord for it.
~If you have a car that runs, say, "God, how good you are to me," as you drive it.
~If you have a tree you like to sit under, sing a song of praise to the One who created trees and flowers and shrubs and grass.
~If you have good health, get on your knees and praise the Lord for that indescribable blessing.
~If you have loved ones you can depend on, lift up their names to the Lord every day in thanks for their wisdom and affection and encouragement and support and the pleasures they bring, then go and hug them.

Don't wait for the lights to go out to see the thousands of stars shining in your life.

Be grateful now.

Right now, stop reading for a second or two, and look up and say, "Yes, Father, I understand. These are all gifts, because every good and pleasant thing in my life exists because You created them."

And when you feel the darkness surrounding you, as it always comes, because this world is broken and damaged and fallen, and so are we; remember that the deepest darkness precedes the greatest light, remember Zechariah 14:7, which says this:

"It shall be one day
Which is known to the Lord--
neither day nor night.
But at evening time it shall happen
That it will be light."

Just hold on: It will be light.


Camy Tang said...

So glad you're okay, Mir! You've got a terrific attitude about everything. I'm glad things are good for you. I'll keep praying for you in the whole (expensive) aftermath.

Mirtika said...

Thanks, Camy! And hey, you have a new pic!!! I have to admit, your smile always dazzles.

Meg said...

Hooray, you're safe! I've been praying for you. I've enjoyed reading your earlier posts and your comments on F*i*F.