I often wonder (too often I might add) why God puts up with us, well, puts up with me really. I know none of y’all have this problem, and I am the only one that struggles constantly with (as my pastor would put it) “the old man”. The old man being, that person I was before Christ saved me, and that person that keeps jumping up and kicking me at every opportunity. I often feel like a punching bag, getting beat up by my own self. Ok, I know I am speaking in riddles, and some of you don’t know what I am talking about. To be a bit clearer, “I do the things I don’t want to do, and I don’t do the things I want to do”. That was written by the apostle Paul in Romans, chapter 7, nearly 2000 years ago. So how is it that Paul and I struggle with the same thing? Some of you would say it is my sin nature, but since I have had a “spiritual” heart transplant, that is I accepted Christ, and he has exchanged my old nature (heart of stone) for a new nature (heart of flesh), then I believe my old sin nature is dead. So why do I still struggle with this old dead thing? Well, I believe it is this “body of death” (more from Paul), that is my current physical body, that has enjoyed being kicked for so many years by my my sin nature, that is actually picking up the dead leg of my old sin nature and hitting me with it. Now that sounds insane, why would I do such a thing? Well, you know the answer is so simple. I am taking my eyes off of Christ. When I look away from my source of power, my battery runs down, and pretty quickly. So, before Christ, I was like a laptop that had a built in battery, but that had a defective program. I could run a long time, but I did all the wrong things. With Christ, my battery has been removed, my program has been corrected, and I am plugged into Him (the main AC power), the source of all power. As long as I am plugged in, I run just great (He fixed my program remember). As soon as I unplug (using my free choice), I run out of power really quickly, and my program goes bonkers and crashes. So, this is the secret that Paul learned (and I am still learning), so many years ago, and it is so simple. Just stay plugged in!
I am guessing that if asked you whether you had been through a hurricane lately, you would say no. We probably all wished we would have gotten at least some rain from hurricane Ike, but we are also glad Ike didn’t decide to track directly up through Austin. We would like rain, but we don’t want our windows blown out, our fences knocked down and the power out. Ike is gone now, but what remains is the devastation it caused and the reminder of how fortunate we are to not be in it’s path. Many weren’t so lucky, including my nephew. He is still waiting for the power to be restored to his neighborhood, north of Houston. Some lost everything, houses, cars, photos, and some lost family members. Yes, we are fortunate, and sometimes we need to be reminded of that. So how does God fit into all this? Well, I think God knew about the hurricane, and I think He permitted it. So, I suppose we could be angry at God for permitting such devastation, or we can choose to respond to this event by helping others. Even though, collecting food for the food bank is a small thing, it expresses our concern for the people that have lost much. I think that is the lesson God wants us to get, that we should care about those around us that are less fortunate.