Hurricane Ian, Our Orlando family, and healing the future…

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
 God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.

Psalm 46

I wanted to write something about our grandchildren’s experience with Hurricane Ian. However, other than this classic from yesterday afternoon, and a few tame images from this morning, I am still waiting on some photographs. It’s still raining hard, and not really safe to go out exploring.

We did talk this morning. Orlando had unprecedented amounts of rainfall overnight, and unnerving high winds that kept the family anxious. Then Thursday morning dawned with the house intact and, unbelievably, electricity to boot!

This is the best possible outcome we could have hoped for. They have a couple of trees down, a new lake in their back yard, and a general mess all around the house, but being able to wake up in a dry home, and then make coffee, is a blessing unimagined.

– Beks and David

Additionally, talking to our niece Hannah over in Palmetto, their house is fine and they too woke up to electricity this morning.

It speaks to the huge difference just a small change in course can effect. And what is good news for some folk turns out to be disaster for someone else. This was the whole point of my column from a couple of days ago, Does Prayer Turn Hurricanes? God’s real interest in scenarios such as Hurricane Ian is what people do to support one another, care for their neighbor, and work together as a community in recovery.

Spiritual Sickness:

An even bigger question in play is our stewardship of this Good Earth. Why do we continue to abuse it? Not just the wanton disregard of science in terms of longterm climate change, but the more local decisions to build on barrier islands, to lay waste to wetlands, and to develop areas historically prone to flooding while simultaneously denuding them of vegetation?

Same in areas where drought is common and fire always a risk. The pressure brought to bear on water sources out west is continually exacerbated by development that is at best irresponsible.

The only way I can possibly explain any of this is through the lens of spiritual sickness. A large proportion of humankind has convinced itself that the most important thing is the acquisition of wealth and power in the short term. It is another version of the credit card disease that wants stuff today, right now, at the expense of later – or a Ponzi scheme where those buying-in tomorrow bear the cost of the greed of those at the top.

We are, quite simply, borrowing (maybe “looting”) our grandchildren’s resources, and security, and quality of life with no intention of paying it back ourselves. And they will be hard-pressed to make good on our debt, because much of it will have already gone, and they will be left with life-threatening costs, and fatal consequences.

The Good News:

The good news is that redemption, and healing, and restoration, and renewal are all possible, always potentially in play. I look at the intelligence and the imagination and the love of life that characterize our grandchildren and I cannot help but smile.

In the meanwhile, though, wouldn’t it be great if we could begin the healing process ourselves, and give them a little more help over the next couple of decades?

If we only turn the tide and take responsibility instead of just taking.

As Paul explained things in Romans 8:  “For the creation,” he said, “is waiting in eager expectation for the children of God to finally get on board with God’s plan.”

Amen – let’s get on with it – DEREK


  1. Glad you’re family is ok. My son in Palmetto has power. I’m near SRQ airport, Sarasota. No power since 3:45p Wednesday. Even traffic lights at major intersections are out = a 4-way stop. Thanks for your prayers earlier in the week. Now my prayers for YOU, RM & parents as IAN is Headed towards you. Be safe!


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