Acts of Nature

Credit: MaxPixel

Are you as weary as I am of the seemingly never ending hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, floods, fires, droughts, and earthquakes? Enough, already!

More important than our weariness is the loss experienced by those directly or indirectly affected by these powerful and destructive acts of nature. The list includes demolished homes and businesses, damaged or destroyed property and possessions, loss of life or limb.

These events are often called “acts of God” but almost always have human or meteorological causes. I wonder about the role of the God of the universe in the manifestation of power in the forces of nature. Obviously he allows such things to happen. But does he always cause them? Such quandaries belong in the category of questions to ask the Lord someday.

To be sure, examples of God acting through nature are found in the pages of Holy Scripture, most notably the great flood, undoubtedly the single most destructive event in world history. Yet we also know, on another occasion, that the Lord’s appearance to Elijah was not in a great and mighty wind, nor in an earthquake or fire, but in “a still, small voice.” 1 Kings 19:12

What then are we to do when hurricanes named Harvey or Katrina or Michael ravage communities and ruin lives? When fires in California turn assets into ashes? When torrential rainfall in Texas converts peaceful rivers into raging floodwaters?

We say “Lord, have mercy!” We do what we can to relieve the suffering of those directly impacted. We assist with picking up whatever pieces of their lives remain. We help rebuild and replace their property and possessions. And we do our best not to become weary in doing well. Gal. 6:9

Advertisements

Hurricane Katrina and Louisiana Flooding

Baton Rouge Flooding

Credit: John Oubre / The Advocate

This week Monday marked the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall on August 29, 2005, in southeast Louisiana. That horrendous storm strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but weakened before making its second landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on August 29 in southeast Louisiana. Wikipedia provides details:

Katrina was the eleventh named storm and fifth hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was the costliest natural disaster and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. The storm is currently ranked as the third most intense United States land falling tropical cyclone, behind only the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille in 1969.

Overall, at least 1,245 people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods, making it the deadliest United States hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane. Total property damage was estimated at $108 billion, roughly four times the damage wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Katrina caused severe destruction along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas, much of it due to the storm surge and levee failure. Severe property damage occurred in coastal areas, such as Mississippi beachfront towns; over 90 percent of these were flooded. Boats and casino barges rammed buildings, pushing cars and houses inland; water reached 6–12 miles from the beach.

Over fifty breaches in New Orleans hurricane surge protection were the cause of the majority of the death and destruction during Katrina. Eventually 80% of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks.

In addition, earlier this month the state of Louisiana suffered heavy flooding from torrential rainfall that caused rivers to overflow their banks, leaving many people homeless. In one part of Livingston Parish, more than 31 inches of rain fell in 15 hours.

One Red Cross worker said, “Thousands of people in Louisiana have lost everything they own and need our help now!” Disaster relief folks from numerous congregations and agencies of our church body have responded with volunteers and monetary support, yet many of those affected have no flood insurance. The need is great for human and financial resources!

For more information on how you can help, go to http://southernlcms.org/southern-district-deploys-district-disaster-response-coordinator/.

Although Terry and I have never directly experienced damage and destruction from flooding, my mother’s home in New Braunfels flooded twice in four years. Through her experience we’ve seen up close the heartache and financial burden that result. Thank you and God bless you for responding in any way possible to help those facing this time of personal loss and need!