Summary: We can choose to either be a victim of the hurricane Katrina disaster, or we can choose to overcome our circumstances and be a victor in Christ.
Victim or Victor?
By Pastor Jim May
1 John 5:4, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
It is hard to write a sermon based upon anything else but the disaster from hurricane Katrina right now. I don’t apologize for these messages though because I know that my God is alive and well and that He loves all men equally. I also know that God’s Word is a living Word and is always relevant to what is important to each of us right now. I know that the Spirit of the Lord is trying to minister to those who are hurting in every way possible, no matter whether they are here in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, or in a place that is far away from the disaster. It is my prayer that this message will be a blessing to not only our local congregation, but to those who may read it on the internet and use part, or all of it, to minister to other congregations. In the past 7 days there have been over 70 pastors who have indicated that the messages have helped them. I thank God for this chance to have the internet as a form of outreach ministry.
Being as close as we are to the source of the disaster, we have seen, and continue to see events as they unfold, in ways that people from other places may not see. My focus is always on trying to find something that God would have me to say to His people and as I have listened and watched those who have come through the recent disaster I am struck with the many different reactions that people have.
Some will walk about as zombies, with glassy eyes and a far away stare. They are on drugs or alcohol, at least that’s not what’s causing the look in their eyes. Their look is one of hopelessness, shock and just a feeling of being lost in a world where everything is out of control.
Some walk around with a chip on their shoulder acting as though the world, and everyone around them, owes them something. They shout for their rights to whatever they want. Though many have lost everything, does that give them the right to just take what they want? It’s the “welfare mentality” of generations of people who don’t believe in working on a job, but just sitting back and getting the hand-out. Their attitude is that what’s mine is gone so now, what’s yours in mine. You owe me.
Some walk around with an arrogant attitude that says, "You didn’t have to suffer like I did, so I’m better than you and I deserve to be treated special." They are the “aristocrats”; those who lived in a little higher strata of society. My friend, there’s nothing like a disaster to make the playing field level again. That same arrogance is why they are in the predicament that they are in.
Many of the poor couldn’t get out, or wouldn’t get out, because they were afraid to lose what little they had. Many of the upper class wouldn’t leave because that would be admitting that they can’t do it on their own. Many of the poorest of the poor simply were too caught up in the minute by minute struggle to survive to even give a thought to the warnings to leave.
I heard former First Lady, Barbara Bush say at one of the Texas shelters that many of those who are now the shelters feel like they have a better lifestyle there than they did at home and they don’t want to ever go back. After seeing how many of them lived, I don’t doubt that at all.
Then there are those whose head is held high, and whose spirit is strong, and though they may have lost everything, they still have hope and faith in God.
I met one such lady in a line at a local establishment. She was from Orleans Parish and had lost everything. She stood there, with a tear in her eye for having suffered through the ordeal and thinking of all she had lost, and the loved ones that she didn’t know how to find for now, and yet there was a strong faith and a confession of trust that God would see her through. I just wanted to stand and applaud her attitude and her spirit. She may have been a victim – but she was well on her way to becoming the victor.
What I have seen is that there are a lot of victims of the disaster. It’s not hard to find them because of the way they act. Victors are harder to find, and when you do, inevitably those who are victors, know the Lord Jesus Christ and have faith in God.