Summary: All of us on this planet will face storms in our lives – regardless of who we serve or how well we serve who we serve

A Storm Is Coming

Matthew 14:22-27

Sandy began as a little disturbance somewhere in the open seas. She grew to the point that she caught the national weather service’s eye. She grew from a little disturbance, to a tropical depression, then a tropical storm to a full-fledged hurricane. As she grew, predictions of her path had started to point to a Florida landfall then run all the way up the east coast. After a while weather folk started talking about a huge storm of possible biblical proportions hitting the east coast around New York and New Jersey.

“Good Morning America” found New Yorkers who didn’t believe the hype. Part of the reason is that a similarly hyped Hurricane named Irene was a non-event in New York, although it did a lot of damage to the city’s outlying areas. That’s why one New York City family is blowing off warnings to evacuate their neighborhood. “The wind may be strong, the noise, the sound, but I don’t really think it’s going to be as bad as they say it will be.” And many other residents that were in harm’s way, including those in Atlantic City, contemplated whether to heed the dire warnings of torrential rain, high winds and up to 2 feet of snow or to just “ride it out”.

UB - people may scoff at the weather center’s predictions by saying that they don’t know what will happen – they are only guessing. But what we need to remember is that forecasters are often right. The movie The Perfect Storm was based on a real storm that killed a lot of people. Thousands of people failed to heed the warnings about Hurricane Katrina. That’s the one that devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005 and became one of the five deadliest storms in U.S. history.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg told his city’s resident - If you refuse to evacuate you’re not only putting yourself at risk, but also the first responders, who will have put their lives at risk trying to rescue you. And UB – in spite of the strong warnings, you know that many people chose to ignore the warnings.

Then here comes Sandy and New Yorkers woke up to submerged neighborhoods and water-soaked electrical equipment. Folk in Atlantic City New Jersey found high-tides being pushed against their boardwalk, wiping it out along with large chunks of the city. The shelter they ran to (instead of totally getting out) flooded. They experienced everything that the forecasters predicted and more. That storm they chose to ignore then hooked up with a Nor’easter causing saltwater to rush into the subways and other tunnel systems of Lower Manhattan; the skyline was flashing with power transformers exploding leaving millions without electricity. It became clear that the threat of flooding, power loss & property damage was even worse than predicted.

At first, no one knew the full extent of the damage that Sandy had done. Even after Sandy had left an area, she was still wreaking havoc because she was so massive - causing people to have to reschedule flights due to airport closings, stay at sea because ships could not dock and clean up mess because she put trees, cars, boats, water and telephone poles where they are not supposed to be. Hurricane Sandy killed more than 50 people in the Caribbean – they are still counting in the northeast - and governors on the East Coast declared states of emergency & ordered evacuations. The governmental leaders warned everybody to be prepared for the storms aftermath. They said - when the storm hits, you will be without electricity, heat, shelter and food. You better get ready. People heard the warning and many chose to ignore it. UB – people could have been spared the loss of life and in some cases loss of some property. But they chose to ignore the warnings to get ready. And when they did, the one storm they thought was going to be nothing turns out to be something really big. The ones that chose to “ride it out” wish now that they had heeded the warnings and/or been better prepared.

With all of the circumstances surrounding Sandy (people ignoring the warnings and people being ill prepared for the storm) it reminded me of a couple pieces of Scripture. It reminded me of the ill-prepared brides maids when the bridegroom showed up. You know how they were running around trying to get oil for their lamps from the brides maids that took the time to prepare for the bridegroom’s coming. Look at the folk running around trying to get gas – not for their cars – but for their generators. And it reminded me of how – before the flood – that Noah had a relationship with the Lord. And when the flood came – because of his relationship, Noah and his family were saved – while everybody and everything else perished.

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