Gilland: Grappling with Ian’s wrath

Hurricane Ian flooding
Flooding from Hurricane Ian at an apartment complex in Orlando. (Shutterstock)

We’ve all heard that expression, “Life happens.” And it sure does. 

If you are in Florida, you can count on another cliché as well: “Hurricanes happen.” 

Every so often, our otherwise beautiful Florida lifestyle can turn crazy and dangerous, as was the case with this most recent storm that brought with it high winds and record flooding. 

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Hurricane Ian was so large in geographical size that Hurricane Charley in 2004 could fit its entire span within the eye of Ian. For many in the northern part of the state, it was water that did more damage than the wind. 

Swollen lakes and rivers are taking their toll, and while Ian is long gone from our state, it has left behind quite a mess to clean up. Most everyone knows of a friend or family member that was hit hard by this storm, and prayers are continuing to go up for them all. 

Late Friday, the Florida Department of Transportation had to shut down a section of I-75 between Venice and North Port due to rising waters. In Sarasota, officials are eyeing an important levee that may well be compromised—bringing back memories of what happened in New Orleans in 2005.

What does it all mean when “life happens” in this manner? Does it imply that God is not with us, or that He is powerless? The Bible teaches us that the answer to both questions is an absolute NO. The all-powerful God is with us, and He warned us in the Scriptures to not be surprised when difficulties come our way.

1 Peter 4:12 says this: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 

We live in a fallen, broken world, and every one of us regularly feels tribulations of all sorts. But we are not left without hope, and that is the key to remember when the storms of life come your way.

One reason why I love the book of Psalms is that it so relevant to our life today. The writers of the different songs in this scriptural songbook put everything out there for us to read. 

It contains the expected great expressions of worship to the Lord, but also the heartbreaks, fears, emotional distresses and feelings of being alone. Just like us, those writers were human, broken, and needy.

Many of these chapters in Psalms start off with a downright complaint, but as the writing goes on, the psalmist begins to take his eyes off of the trying situations and upon the maker and creator of all things. It is amazing to watch and identify with their bolstered faith that happens right before our eyes as we read their accounts.

Our hearts and prayers continue to go out for all who are dealing with the damage that was left behind in this most recent hurricane. May those so severely affected find the same comfort in God that those psalmists found as they began to see God and His power and might more clearly.

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