Why some are not evacuating ahead of the hurricane
C. S. Lewis on war (and hurricanes)
An ancient Christian custom with transforming potential
Hurricane Dorian turned north overnight and is about one hundred miles off of Florida’s east coast this morning. At least seven people were killed in the Bahamas; dozens are still being rescued from floodwaters.
Their dilemma could be solved if they knew where (or if) the hurricane would strike land. It’s an astounding fact in our day of remarkable technological sophistication that such vital and practical information is unavailable to those who need it most.
How many people work for the National Weather Service?
Our problem is not that our best people aren’t doing their best. The National Weather Service employs 2,600 operational meteorologists and hydrologists; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2019 budget exceeds $5 billion.
And yet, using the most advanced technology in history, our best meteorological scientists are still unable to predict the precise path of a hurricane. The consequences of this fact are staggering.
My point is that disasters and diseases demonstrate the finitude of fallen humans.
We can do so much more in the world than ever before. For instance, distributing this article without email would require $90,000 in postage and would render today’s column outdated by the time it arrived in your physical mailbox.
But the issues that matter most are beyond our capacity to influence or even predict. I don’t know if I’ll be alive to write Thursday’s Daily Article; you don’t know if you’ll be alive to read it if I do.
In this sense, the unpredictability and devastation of Hurricane Dorian is nothing new on our fallen planet. What C. S. Lewis said of war can be said of a hurricane: It “creates no absolutely new situation; it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. . . . We are mistaken when we compare war with ‘normal life.’ Life has never been normal.”
“The wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
When we face a foe stronger than we are, it’s wise to trust in a power stronger than it is.
Scripture says of the Lord: “It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth” (Jeremiah 10:12–13).
When Jesus “rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’” here’s what happened: “The wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). The God who parted the Red Sea and stopped the flooded Jordan River is more powerful than Dorian or any other disaster.
For today, let’s consider that the unpredictability and danger of natural disasters and diseases should remind us daily of our frailty and limitations. The more advanced our technology becomes, the more tempting our hubris.
“Living your life as an offering of thanksgiving”
What Hurricane Dorian does this week is beyond our control. But how we respond to that fact is not.
When we remember that this world is not our home and that all we “own” actually belongs to the One who made it, we are free to live for heaven on earth and trust the results to our Father.
Curtis Almquist of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist offers this advice: “All the things which you could call your ‘possessions’—both the tangible and the intangible—give them up. I’m not saying to disregard or devalue them; quite to the contrary, I’m speaking of ‘giving them up’ like an offering, acknowledging to God how God has acknowledged you in them. In the ancient vocabulary of the church, this is called ‘an ablation,’ living your life as an offering of thanksgiving.”