Within American history, there have been several events that qualify as “conscientious altering.” Among these one might list the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Great Wars (I and II), the assassination of Kennedy, 9-11, and, I would class with these, Hurricane Katrina.
Of this level of event, you can ask people, “Do you remember where you were that day?” and they can tell you exactly where they were. While I’m too young to remember Kennedy’s assassination, I remember the impression the event left on my parents and grandparents. They would tell stories about where they were at the exact moment they heard the news.
I remember 9-11 vividly. I was in New Orleans, more precisely, I was getting ready to take Rachel to school. We were watching the morning news and watched, along with millions of other viewers, as the first place crashed into the World Trade Center. The scenes are forever sketched on my mind.
For me, Katrina was much more personal. I knew people who were forever affected by the storm. I was in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada when Katrina struck but my family, but because of our ties to New Orleans, we helplessly watched CNN for a month because it felt like it was happening to us, too. We gasped as reporters showed us places we knew. Now that we are back in this area, I understand what people mean when they say things have changed—alot.
Katrina and aftermath had an enormous impact on the life of the Tammany Oaks Church of Christ. On August 28, 2005, the building where we now worship was to be formally dedicated to God’s purpose. The church numbered over 200 in regular attendance; things looked up. That is a far cry to where the church finds itself today, but that dogged determinism remains and though the times have been hard, we are still here. And that signals hope.
It is not unusual for someone who has survived a terrible car accident to believe they are still here because God has a mission for them. I wonder if that is the same attitude we should take. God has preserved us to this day, thus, he must have a purpose for us. We are here; we have survived.
Long ago, when the Judeans were forcefully exiled to Babylon, they experienced an event as soul-shaking as our Katrina. When they finally returned home, they thought it would never be the same. They looked at the once magnificant Temple which now seemed only a shell of its former self. When they thought that things could never be as good as they once were. God announced through his prophet Haggai:
‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.” (Haggai 2:8–9 NIV)
Perhaps that is what God has in mind for us, too. In Christ, we have to believe that the best days are yet to come.
Copied from Tammany Oaks Church of Christ Bulletin, 29 August, 2010.