getting a grip

“Command the well-to-do not to to think too much of themselves nor to place their confidence in their possessions, for we all know possessions are uncertain and our hope belongs in God. Remember, it is God who richly provides us with what we have to enjoy. So command the haves to do good, to be rich in good deeds and to be gladly open-handed toward all of who have not. … for it is only in this way that they will get a real grip on real life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

What lessons from God have you been learning from your experience with, or observance of the experiences of others, related to Hurricane Ike?

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6 thoughts on “getting a grip

  1. Hey Mr.Smith it’s Matt, hope this message finds you and your family doing the best that can be expected. I am board and just came across your blog site here. I’m glad to say that I did. I’m currently activated with the Oklahoma Army National Guard here at Ft. Hood, TX and will be leaving soon to play in the big sand box in the Middle East, luckily most of my time will be spent in Kuwait. I look forward being able to read your blogs when I get down time over there. In some way I know that it will be one more tool I can us to keep my mind occupied, instead of missing home. You can contact me at (mattmckeown1@hotmail.com) God Bless and I’ll keep you in my prayers

  2. Despite the varying levels of damage to property and disruption to lives people have experienced, everyone I have spoke to (from family, to coworkers, to the lady that cut my hair today) has said something along the lines of: ‘all things considered, we were really blessed.’ Granted I haven’t spoken to anyone from Galveston, Bolivar, Surfside, or other places where entire houses and all contents were washed away. But the limited (to this point) loss of life in light of the total destruction has been nothing less than a miracle.

    The most crystal clear example of God’s blesisng to me has to be the cooler weather that quickly followed the loss of power and AC here in the Gulf Coast area. It’s not like we typically enjoy cool breezes and low humidity in mid-September. It’s been a freak thing, in the best way possible. My physical dwelling was without air conditioning, but God took care of that for me.

    Lesson learned/re-affirmed…the steadfast love of THE LORD never ceases.

  3. Matt H., you took the words right out of my mouth! I too have experienced the same in my encounters with folks (“we’re blessed”) and I have been especially grateful for the week’s cool weather; particularly given the fact Deb is very sensitive to heat ever since her surgery.

    Matt M., you and yours are certainly in my prayers, my friend and brother! I’ll send you more via e-mail. Remember – “the steadfast love the Lord never ceases.”

  4. The lesson that Ike taught me is…it’s hard to saw on something from 15 feet away! Just ask Maria Herrera or Bill Snead what that means! 😉 But seriously, you guys have really hit the nail on the head. I’ve seen near misses and direct hits from the storm in our area and everyone does indeed seem to feel very blessed by the damage we DIDN’T get from Ike. Ike really surprised a lot of people and put some fear in them, but if nothing else, Ike put a lot of people’s lives into perspectives. Like Wally Whitley said when I visited their house after I got back, “It’s just stuff.” Things can be repaired or replaced. People can’t. And we are all thankful for what we didn’t lose to Ike.

  5. Seeing the pictures of the old neighborhood is nothing short of astounding. The images of Kemah, Seabrook and other places bring back memories. Deana and I ate at Saltgrass in Kemah with Bill and Margaret on one of our last nights there. You, Bill and Doug introduced me to Tookies my first day at work and changed my life. I remember eating lunch with you at the park behind the Sterling Municipal Library on afternoon. I’ve jogged by those homes in Lakewood countless times with Harld and Kelly. I’ve been a part of a group of kids that wrapped your home in the name of Christ. I remember cleaning up my hard and repairing my roof after Rita. Ironically, a tree apparently hit the exact same corner of my old house this time judging from the tarp in the picture. I remember being in the Whitley’s home within a couple of days of them moving into it.

    It’s not so much what I learn from observing those I love so dearly as much as what I’m internalizing or being reminded of. To quote the famous food critic from Ratouille, I’ve been given some “fresh perspective.” I genuinely hurt for some friends who can’t live in their own home for quite a while. I feel a sense of helplessness being unable to offer any help to those I know need it. At the same time, I’m so thankful that others weren’t impacted as much as they could have been. There’s a tension there. Are those who suffered smaller losses more blessed than the ones I know who lost so much more? It’s a powerful reminder to that the kingdom of God is breaking in, but not everything is just right yet.

    Moments like these are often redefining moments. They alter or reshape our thinking. For example, I feel and experience a deep sense of our need for relationships, community and God. I find myself wanting to hear stories from those I know and love because I want to know the hurt and offer my love and encouragement. I’m reminded that we are not as powerful and independent as we think we are. We’re deceived. Hmm… maybe there’s something much deeper and more profound to this greatest commands thing than we often give time to consider.

    So, if none of this makes sense keep in mind tht it’s 4:44 AM and I’ve been awake since 2:38 AM. I need some coffee now.. I love you, my brother.

  6. Its been 3 weeks without internet and I’m at Starbucks. Thought I’d drop in on your blog for a visit.
    First thing I thought as I looked at the picture was that I was sure glad no one was under that spot in the house when the tree fell.
    What have we learned??? I’m sure people in some places learned to leave when they got the warning. I heard a friend comment on losing her Crystal Beach house, “…it was a luxury we can live without.” Yeah, many of us consider ourselves blessed when we know how much worse it could have been. When Kim wasn’t wanting to evacuate even though our zip code was the first one on the list, he finally said okay when he considered the potential danger he would inflict on emergency crews if they had to come in to rescue us from our house. I believe we learned to think about others over ourselves. I’ve also learned that more people than I could have imagined are willing to travel from other states to work feverishly hard to lend aide to those in need. I’ve been so impressed by the crews and crews of emergency disaster relief in our area.
    Yes, we are truly blessed in so many ways. Whether our lives have been turned upside down from Ike or irritated and put on temporary hold, our lives are still here to do God’s work on earth. Do you think God has been shaking us up lately with hurricanes, tsunami, wars, and other threats? Hmmm…

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