Now Tropical Storm Isaac has passed Haiti, I think it’s fair to say that God demonstrated how great His mercy is to this nation. After all, it was predicted that the storm would reach hurricane force wind before hitting our coast. The trajectory of the storm for days before had predicted that the eye of the hurricane would come straight across Port-au-Prince. And the devastating expectations were set very, very high.
What happened, though, was that many people, including many of you reading this right now, showered this nation with prayers asking for God to act. And He did.
If I were to be really honest about my feelings going into the storm, I had a lot of anxiety about the potential damage to our orphanage (which could have been way worse than losing a tin roof), worry for the people living in the tent cities, and fear for the unknown. At the same time, however, there was also a little bit of excitement in me because, as a west Texas boy, it’s fair to assume I’ve never been in a hurricane before. There is always a sense of adventure that comes with the possibility of danger.
However, as the time drew close for the storm to hit, one thought kept coming through my mind… “This must be the most boring ‘hurricane’ ever.” In the end, the storm never picked up enough speed to become a hurricane, and the course had shifted away from coming right over us. In fact, the storm was so ‘boring’ that after it had stalled in the ocean to the south of us for almost 8 hours, I went to bed and slept right through it. The next morning I learned that the core of the storm finally shot across the southern peninsula of Haiti in just under 3 hours. How crazy is that?
As far as the devastation goes, the last count I heard was that Isaac has left 24 dead, 42 injured, 335 homes destroyed, and 2,346 homes damaged (the numbers include regular homes as well as shanties built after the 2010 earthquake). All in all, what could have been a major catastrophe was pretty much diverted.
Is God to blame for this?
When a natural disaster strikes and there is major loss of life and major destruction left in it’s wake, God always catches the blame. So now I think it is vital to point out the fact that this storm was restrained from doing that much damage, must also be considered the hand of God. I absolutely believe that God held back this storm.
So I must ask the question: What about it, Pat Robertson?
If only two years ago, God was ready to destroy this nation because of it’s history of sin and voodou, then why didn’t He finish the job now, before reconstruction can really have much affect?
Well, I’ll tell you why. Because even though God will put an end to all sin and even though the whole earth is saved up for destruction in God’s wrath, we are living in an age where God is withholding this judgement in order that grace can be extended to the nations and all peoples will have the opportunity to repent and be saved. But don’t take my word for it. Check out what God said Himself in His word:
“…the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance…” (2 Peter 3:5-9)
So while the curse is still on much of humanity from sin, and the creation is still fighting against us making life difficult (see Genesis 3:17-18), we cannot attribute this to God’s decisive judgement. The new testament teaches that those things have and will always come our way (see passages like Matthew 24:6-8). Instead of destroying humanity, after having won the victory on the cross, God is currently in the business of putting salvation into full effect by reaching those who should be saved. This generation is seeing grace upon grace despite the fact that our sin deserves God’s destruction.
So in the case of Tropical Storm Isaac, I absolutely believe that God heard the prayers of His people for Haiti and has spared her. I further believe that God is at work in Haiti, as the gospel continues to go out and souls are being brought into His Kingdom. I will even go farther and say it is my personal conviction that revival is ready to break out in Haiti as the people of God here are beginning to rise up and seeking His face on behalf of this place.
All of that to say this. I am very thankful to our merciful Savior for a boring storm, and all the grace that this lack-of-destruction demonstrates. And now, as this storm approaches New Orleans (another of Pat Robertson’s ‘condemned’ cities), I pray that God graces those people with a boring storm as well. Will you pray the same as well?
“Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.”