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 Bob Kerr

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October 2017: "Weathering the Storms!"

Dear Friends in Christ,

Hurricane Irma

We watched its course for a few days before we realized that Hurricane Irma was going to move right up the Florida Peninsula into Georgia. Having seen the devastation Hurricane Harvey wreaked in the Houston, Texas area, Irma promised to be equally dangerous to the folks in Florida, one of whom was my mother. So my older brother Phil flew down, secured her house, and flew her back to North Carolina, where she has been a refugee from the storm with us. Fortunately, assessment after the storm determined her house had weathered Irma well and power was on in her part of the city. For that we are very thankful. But now, we're watching Hurricane Maria, which seems to be following Irma's course. And just like these hurricanes, sometimes the storms of life seem to come one after the other, and that can feel overwhelming.

The Storms of Life

I love that old hymn, "When the Storms of Life Are Raging, Stand by Me." The longer we live, the more probable it is that life will bring some storms our way that feel like they're going to overwhelm us, and maybe destroy us. The first thing I think of when I reflect on life's storms is that moment when we receive a diagnosis from a medical professional that is potentially life threatening. Many of the members of our congregation have faced just such a storm and when your life feels threatened by a deadly illness, it feels like the wind has been taken out of your sails. It's difficult to think clearly about options, and when you make your decisions, then you wrestle with whether or not it was the right one. Those of you who have made such choices about chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical procedures or other treatments know exactly what I mean. What is most helpful to us? A loved one or dear friend standing with us, to encourage us, to pray with us, to be there through it all with us. It helps. It changes the dynamics. But the one thing that helps the most is the reassurance that "the steadfast love of God for us endures forever," and that he will "be with us always and never forsake us."

Recovering from the Storms

The folks in Texas, Florida, and Georgia, the people in the islands, all need someone to stand by them as they recover the loss of loved ones, of property and possessions, and even of livelihood. The United Methodist Church and so many others have already mobilized to do just that. The old Cokesbury Hymnal has a wonderful son in it: "Does Jesus care when I've said goodbye to the dearest on earth to me? And my sad heart aches ''til it nearly breaks, is it ought to him, does he see?" Then the chorus affirms: "O yes, He cares, I know He cares. His heart is touched with my grief. When the day grows weary, the long night dreary, I know my Savior cares." There's the source of our comfort and healing, expressed in the loving presence and assistance of God's people. Whatever the storm might be that may be overwhelming you today, trust that the God who loves you and has promised to always be with you will give you the strength to "weather the storm."

Yours in the service of Christ and the Church,


Rehobeth United Methodist Church • 9297 Sherrills Ford Road • P.O. Box 356 • Terrell, NC 28682
Copyright © 2016 Robert L. Kerr, D.Min
Used by permission