Counting the Cost of Hurricane Sandy

Submitted October 30, 2012

Counting the Cost of Hurricane Sandy
Source: NASA

We watched this storm develop several days in advance. As it approached the coast it was apparent the forecasters were not wrong in their predictions. 90 mile an hour winds lashed New York City and the New Jersey coastline. The water surge flooded subways and tunnels. Power is out to millions. It is stunning to realize the world's financial capital is shut down because of a natural occurrence. In our recent memory the only thing that has done this is was 9/11.

America has had more than its share of natural disasters in recent years. I realize such events are cyclical and can be plotted with regularity on a timeline. I also know that God uses such events in His prophetic timeline to summons a people to wake up to the reality that He controls all events, both natural and human, on this planet. We pointed out in yesterday's BT Daily that it could be more than a coincidence that Hurricane Isaac last month was on the seventh anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. This east coast storm comes twenty-one years (3 X 7) to the day after the Perfect Storm that hit New England. 

Could there be more than coincidence at work? It just may be. But an event of this size gives us all an opportunity to step back and learn from the great God who holds this fragile world in His powerful hands. We go along in our modern reality thinking that nothing will change or that there are no consequences to our actions. We lull ourselves into thinking we may be immune from life changing situations that can hit rapidly and unexpectedly. Life can sometimes be very fragile and we need to be prepared mentally, emotionally and spiritually to handle these dramatic life challenges.

In recent months two close friends have died leaving behind family and friends to grieve. One man died unexpectedly while the other died after a long bout with cancer. While talking with their wives and offering words of sympathy and support I was struck at how these events bring us face to face with the temporary nature of life. You walk away from such life events sobered and chastened. Such times leave a mark of pain and loss but also a reminder to not take anything for granted. God does hold our lives in our hands and sometimes, as David said to Jonathan, "…there is but a step between me and death" (1 Samuel:20:3).

The only way we will survive such "life storms" is by taking refuge in the God who knows the breadth and depth of human experience and can guide us through the rough and choppy waters that rise and surge against us. His grace is not far from those who seek Him and reach out in the darkness to know His love and the grandeur of His plan for all human life. An event like Hurricane Sandy is timed by this God to get our attention and awaken us to a new reality.

God reached out to Job at such a moment and shook him awake. Job was challenged when God asked, "Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know this." (Job:38:16-18). Job came to understand his limitations and he was stronger for it. 

The God who controls storms like Hurricane Sandy can also send the calm and serenity to deal with the turmoil. The key is in making the connection with Him through a faith that produces change and a mastery of life.

Hurricane Sandy is but one storm among many "storms" presently shaping our world. The Middle East continues to roil. The world economy is being shaken and reshaped at the same time. Political leadership at every level around the world seems incapable of providing lasting solutions to these and other issues. The best that each of us can do is prepare ourselves for whatever comes at us. It begins in a moment and event like this. Realize our limitations and reach out to God who rides in these storms and controls the outcome of all.

This is a moment to discern the "signs of the times". It is a moment to see the hand of God moving in this world with a call to repentance. The Kingdom of God is closer than we think. 

Blog posts do not undergo review by the doctrinal review team of the United Church of God. This post represents the personal opinion of the author and should not be considered the official stance of the United Church of God. If you have any questions or concerns please direct them to


Matoaka's picture

Yes, God and Mother Nature are both desperately trying to get our attention. The East Coast has storms, maybe not in the frequency and magnitude of late. There was Irene, Lee - if memory serves. The flooding then was in Vermont and Rhode Island? Bottom line-if you are told to go somewhere----you go. Mother Nature wants her shore lines back! and God ---I will not venture to think what HE is attempting. If people will not listen to Government Officials, maybe GOD is wondering if they will listen to HIM!!!!! A good topic to disect and ponder.

Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

@Matoaka, Re: "Mother Nature wants her shore lines back!"

"Psalm 8:6 speaks of God giving man dominion over His creation. This is quoted in Hebrews 2:8" in regards to our future destiny of receiving "ultimate dominion with God" (UCG Bible Commentary, Psalm 8).

Isaiah 11:11 42:4, 51:5, and 60:9 are 3 instances of people like me who both live in "the coastlands of the sea" (Isaiah 11:11, ESV 2011) and who look to God for guidance in life. The two are not mutually exclusive: "the coastlands ["wait in anticipation for" (NET 2006) or] take ownership of his Law" (Isaiah 42:4, ISV 2010).

God, supreme over creation, "fixed limits for [the sea] and...said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'" (Job 38:10-11, NIV 2011). Likewise, rather than giving nature dominion over mankind, he has given mankind "dominion over the fish of the sea" (Genesis 1:26-28, ESV 2011) and the natural world.

"The purpose for man's existence is stated at both ends of Scripture. At the beginning, God reveals that He created man in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27)—language that refers to offspring or children (Genesis 5:1-3)—to, in submission to Him, share dominion or rule with Him over creation (Genesis 1:28). And at the end of the Bible God says, "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son" (Revelation 21:7). Again, the wording concerns shared rule with God over all creation in submission to Him as His children. Thus we see that man's destiny is to be part of the Kingdom and family of God" (God's Purpose for Mankind).

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