North Carolinians living and working and going about their days just an hour and a half away to our northwest took a big hit from Hurricane Matthew a couple of weeks ago.
While I was celebrating because we had almost no real damage here at the coast, they were going underwater.
I saw the kind of heartbreak flooding causes when I traveled by van to Louisiana at the first of September with a team to cook and feed flood victims. And taking nothing from them, what has happened in our state seems far more extensive. The need is huge.
In Louisiana, we were housed with teams of ordinary people who were there tearing out all that had been ruined by floodwater in people’s homes: the furnishings, carpet, and walls right down to the studs. There is urgency, before the mold sets in.
Floodwater is nasty, a toxic mix of bad stuff including sewage and chemicals. Nothing it touches can be kept. It all goes out on the curb in ginormous stinky piles.
Businesses will have to be gutted, all inventory lost.
Relief efforts are underway, but will still be needed a long, long time from now.
Matthew was our state’s Sandy and Katrina.
As the tragedy unfolds, something bugs me greatly -— outrages me really.
In Louisiana, I was shocked to hear people, victims and some who came to help, say the rains and high water that produced the thousand-year flood event were God’s judgment.
That is a lie born and perpetuated in hell.
Hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, fires, even terrorists flying planes into buildings — none of it is God’s judgment.
Yes, this country is a mess, but to label it God’s judgment is twisted theology. Anyone speaking this lie shows that they really do not know the Lord.
He is a good Father. He does not punish us to get our attention, to wake us up from our sin, to teach us a lesson. That is a total lie.
And for it to be perpetuated by some in the church is an abomination. Anyone who repeats it negates (rejects) what Jesus did for all mankind.
God the Father loves us, He sees up through the filter of the bloodshed for us on the cross. The whole point of Jesus coming to Earth was to pay the price for the sins of the whole world, past, present and future.
When He hung on that cross, standing in for us, He took on every curse, every lie, every plague, every bit of sickness, every bad thing. That is why it is called the Good News.
He came to redeem us, to restore our relationship with the Father that Adam lost for all of us when the snake came slithering in with a lie — eat from the tree, it won’t hurt you.
It is always a lie.
What happened this month was NOT an act of God, it was an act of pure evil.
It is simple: Good = God. Bad = evil.
It is time to reject the lie.
It is also time to help our neighbors.
The obvious way is with dollars, but be careful where you donate. Some of these organizations — government, religious and civic — have huge infrastructure and people with big salaries and so little of what is given actually goes to help the disadvantaged.
Local people and organizations are loading up and heading out to help. First Fruit Ministries is one. Mike Thornton of Ignite Ministries here in Wilmington is another, with the Jesus Tent set up on the grounds of the Rock Church of God at 2209 Carthage Road in Lumberton. You can donate through them; I am sure there is an online way.
If you want to put feet on the ground, that is also a good place to begin. Go there and hook up, plug in and fill a need. Take some canned goods, baby supplies, toothpaste, and a willing heart.
And while you’re there, let the people know that this isn’t judgment. God loves them.