11The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13)
Another major natural disaster has devastated the world. This one, Hurricane Ian, hit close to home as it came ashore in Charlotte Harbor, following the same path as Hurricane Charley in 2004. Charlotte Harbor is not far from where I spent most of my life and seeing the gigantic storm surge that destroyed Fort Myers is shocking. It is the pain millions around the world have faced lately, from Pakistan to Cuba and now my birth state of Florida.
Rescue operations are underway. Federal funding will be pouring in. Charitable organizations are mobilized and heading to Florida. The powerful, heavy-hitters will be doing work (American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, Missouri Disaster Relief, Florida-based GEM, and many others). If you are willing to give financially to any of these organizations, do your research and pick the one that you believe does the most good. If you have the time and ability to volunteer with the massive clean-up that will soon be underway, by all means, start heading south. Florida’s Gulf Coast has been forever altered by another natural disaster.
The above verses from 1 Kings are always my go-to Bible teachings to remind everyone that God is not in these monstrous natural disasters that keep decimating our world. Sure, we can have a debate over whether these are acts of God, the Creator of everything, or if these powerful storms are man-made from our destruction of the environment. Natural disasters were around long before we started polluting the Earth, but it is clear that our abusive practices have led to an increase in such storms, in size, strength, and frequency. But these verses are a perfect reminder that God is not in the storms, He is in the gentle whisper, the Holy Spirit that protects you, stays near to you, and when the storm passes, whispers in your ear: “What are you doing here?”
What are YOU doing here? A heavy question before the storm: what are you doing still staying here? A heavier question after the storm: what are YOU doing HERE? As in, what are you personally doing to help those around you, here in this season? What are you doing here? What are YOU doing HERE to help millions hurting? What are YOU doing here to show the compassion, love, and action as a Disciple of Jesus Christ?
What are you doing here?