United Church of God

Personal From the President: From the Path of Hurricane Ian

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Personal From the President

From the Path of Hurricane Ian

I’m writing this today from the Orlando, Florida, area where my wife and I have been since last Friday. We had a most enjoyable and inspiring Sabbath and Feast of Trumpets with the brethren in Jacksonville and Orlando, and decided to spend a few extra days down here before returning to Cincinnati.

We had no idea when we left Cincinnati there was a storm brewing in the Caribbean that would eventually result in Hurricane Ian—which they say is one of the top five strongest hurricanes to ever hit Florida.

As the Feast of Trumpets passed, we paid more attention to this storm but weren’t too worried about it. As it made landfall in the Port Charlotte area yesterday, it was obvious this was a storm to take seriously.

Around 3 a.m. last night I woke and heard the wind howling and the rain literally coming down “in sheets.” It was an awesome, powerful sound and I got up and walked out onto our patio. The electricity was out everywhere so there was not a light to be seen anywhere. It was a beautiful moment.

As I looked out over the landscape and could see the sheets of rain and the trees literally bending over, I felt a sense of peace. Here was just a very small example of the power of God in the universe. That power on display could destroy homes, lives and anything in its path.

But it was a moment where I felt complete peace and trust and reliance in God. There was nothing I could do to stop the storm or protect anything. Everything was completely in God’s hands and I completely trusted Him to see all His people through this event.

When you feel helpless and powerless in yourself, with complete trust in God, it is a wonderful, motivating, freeing feeling.

We have just observed the Feast of Trumpets which pictures the return of Christ and the resurrection of the saints. Christ is the Savior who will save the world from the destruction Satan intends to bring to the earth and all mankind. The time leading up to His return will be fraught with spiritual and literal storms, strong winds, blistering rain, and the power of Satan that is determined to break the saints, to destroy our faith, to cause us to turn to him for protection and sustenance, rather than relying on God.

Don’t give in. Don’t fear. Rather, look at the “danger” that lurks straight in the face, and feel the comfort of God who is always with us, who loves us and is there to give us the strength and resolve to endure and thrive through every storm that confronts us.

This afternoon we still have no power here, as is the case with most of the brethren in this area. Despite the winds and heavy rain we have no damage, just some limbs and branches to clean up. Reports I have heard so far indicate the same for our brethren, but pastors Richard Kennebeck, Doug Wendt and Braden Veller will likely provide updates from their areas for all of us.

Might I ask that you continue to pray for your brethren in Florida as there is now much work to do to clean up and be ready for the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles ahead.

As this will be the last eNews until Oct. 27, I would like to remind all of our brethren worldwide that our prayers are with you all. May you all have a meaningful Day of Atonement and inspiring Feast of Tabernacles and Eighth Day as we rejoice before God. Let us all truly purpose in our hearts to observe these appointed times that God has given us in the manner that will be pleasing to Him.

Be there in His presence at every service and keep God first in your plans and thoughts.

May God bless you all, and may we all bring honor and glory to His name through everything we do.