Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4:13
While tucked away under prevailing current events, the devastation of Hurricane Maria continues to impact the communities of Puerto Rico. Reconstruction is slow, 40% of the island remains without power and the hearts of the people, especially in remote areas, grow heavier with the passing days.
Maria whipped through an already failed economy with 45% of residents living at the poverty level before she struck. While the island fades from the media the darkness grows deeper as murder rates soar and suicides increase. Failing government flounders. Massive sick-outs by overwhelmed law enforcement agents, unpaid due wages, exacerbate crime rate and fear.
Storms expose the condition of our hearts, our homes, and our community. When governments fail and hopelessness abounds it may well become fertile and tilled ground for the Body of Christ. My husband saw this when working on the island as part of a mission team. While planning to provide some reconstruction and repair, the team soon found that the greatest need and longing is restoration of the heart and soul.
The Lord moves His Body in place to answer the cries of brokenness.
While in a devastated area, going door to door with care packages and the love of God, team members Chris, who also directs security at our church and Sarah, a psychiatric nurse worked together with a local pastor and shared this testimony…
At one point in our canvassing we found no one home but the way led to a park where we saw a woman, sitting alone, underneath a tree. We approached her to ask about her needs, how we might help in any way. The woman was obviously downcast and heavy hearted.
“I’ve been praying for days, asking for God’s direction, what I should do” she shared. “Ten years ago I lived in New York City, I used to go to Times Square Church. My husband lives in New York City but I don’t know what to do. My mother lives here….I’m praying for direction, I’m asking God for a sign…”
Chris said, “We’re here from Times Square Church.”
“Oh my God!” she exclaimed and looked up directly at Chris. At 6’5″ with memorable looks and physique, she added with amazement, “I remember you, I used to see you at the front of the church!” (a security post!)
An emotional dam burst forth and this woman shared her brokenness and deep fears. The team counseled her, ministered to her and prayed with her. No provisions would ever compare to the ‘care package’ delivered by God – the Body of Christ whom she knew from a church she loved, finding her in a remote corner of an island, praying alone underneath a tree.
There were many such testimonies, even from that same day. My husband’s team found a woman who readily answered their call. Inwardly desperate, she is literally dying and described to the team her terminal condition and prognosis – less than three weeks to live. Broken, she described her ‘backslidden’ condition, having known the Lord but turned away from Him. Would He receive her again? Could she be assured of eternal life?
My husband knows very well the downfall and despair from turning away from the Lord and also knows the true renewal and assurance awaiting those who repent. He and the brother with him ministered to this woman, praying for her and with her, leading her to the assurance of eternal life.
God’s purpose in the storm, whether it is a personal trauma or natural catastrophe, may be to expose the roots of our condition and cause us to seek Him in a deeper way. If we, as the Body of Christ, offer ourselves as a “living sacrifice” unto the Lord, He may maneuver us toward those broken people who are crying out for Him.
Please continue to pray for Puerto Rico, the work of God continues…