Everlasting love

Posted by on October 9, 2017 in Blog, Dependence on God, God's love | 5 comments

Everlasting love

A month ago, September 6th, Hurricane Irma severely damaged our home and completely destroyed our cottage on the island of St John in the US Virgin Islands. Our home was our major source of income through a short term rental company. Because of the major catastrophe, which left the east end of the island completely cut off from the rest of the territory, we didn’t find out the extent of the damage for several days later. Even now, 4 weeks past, people refer to the area as ‘apocalyptic’. There are no communications via phone or internet and power is not expected to be restored for many more months.

As we reeled from the news and were just starting to comprehend its impact on our lives, another Category 5 hurricane, Maria, headed towards the Virgin Islands on the same path as Irma. We were worried sick. The islands and their people couldn’t withstand another torment to such a degree. Would this storm destroy what little we had left on St John and would it now take our our main residence and our tenants as well on St Thomas?

My life became a 24 hour prayer vigil in the days prior to Maria. I lay awake at night, asking God to spare our property, our community, our church family (The St Thomas Reformed Church). I walked for hours listening to hymns, praising and praying. All the hymns and praise to God were a wonderful release of worry and stress.

The songs which I have known since childhood were a great source of strength. Such as, “BE STILL MY SOUL”, “HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW”, ‘WHEN PEACE LIKE A RIVER”, and, “ON CHRIST THE SOLID ROCK I STAND” were great comfort. These are Biblical truths I have grown up with. But had they really ever been challenged? A nonChristian friend of mine asked me years ago, “Chris, you seem to have such a strong faith, have you really ever been tested and challenged?” At the time, I told him no, not really. But I figured one day I would be. Well, I was about to find out.

It wasn’t until I heard on my iPod while walking, the hymn, THE WONDROUS CROSS that I rediscovered the crux of the matter for me. The hymn was written by Isaac Watts in 1770. There is no particular special story behind the hymn but, what makes it unique is the particular beauty of its language and imagery and the power with which it highlights the most significant event in human and personal history. (Tim Challies @Challies Blog.)

When I survey the wondrous Cross, on which the Prince of Glory died.
My richest gain, I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it Lord, that I should boast, save in the depths of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most I sacrifice them to His blood.

It occurred to me, was I willing to let go of all the material things we had invested? All the hard work we had spent over the years creating a lifestyle for ourselves blown away in a mighty wind. Could I/would I, let it go and trust God? And why did I have such fear to do so?

Hurricane Maria came and went the next day creating more destruction on our islands and then moved on to Puerto Rico where millions more people were displaced and left with nothing. Our main house was spared but, we still gulp deeply when we think of what our community is going through being set back from any progress they might have made after the first torment.

I’ve recently been listening to a blog, again on my iPod, which I downloaded several years ago. I wasn’t even aware that it was there… just accidentally came upon it. Beth Moore’s EAT, PRAY, LOVE. It’s a three part series which you can find online.

The bottom line for me was, I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV)

The Message version says, I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!

And so, knowing that we are surrounded by an unfathomable love, we move on. We’re going back in just a few weeks. Back, to a hurting community. Back to picking up the pieces of our own lives. Back to trying to help those that have so much less than ourselves.

All the while, we know we are going with a God that loves us beyond comprehension, that will give us the strength not just for ourselves, but filled up, shaken down, over flowing, with plenty of reserve to share with our neighbour. (Luke 6:38)

My husband and I will cherish your prayers for us and our community. I will not be able to respond or post anything on this site for some time. But, knowing this is a dialogue among Christian sisters, I thank you for your support and for the blessing that this has been for me.

5 Comments

  1. Survival experiences impress both the involved and the uninvolved. They are like our own personal testimony: they are our experiences, not open to debate or unbelief. The most important part of these experiences, for me, is how they have influenced the ones involved…influenced them for eternity. When 9/11 happened here in the US I know a lot of people had experiences of turning to God. And since then the world has gone through trauma after trauma, making us wonder if the 2nd coming isn’t near. How I pray that hearts touched during these events have continued to seek Him!

    And so, Cristina, your testimony has been noted; your growth in trusting the Lord has grown and with it come more blessings day by day. I so understand you wondering how you would react should anything catastrophic come your way. Several years ago while finishing reading the book of Habakkuk I boldly and sincerely stood with this prophet as he declared:

    “Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    And there be no fruit on the vines,
    Though the yield of the olive should fail,
    And the fields produce no food,
    Though the flocks should be cut off from the fold,
    And there be no cattle in the stalls,
    Yet I will exalt in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
    The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
    And makes me walk on my high places.” Hab. 3:17-19 NAST

    Your strength has increased my own faith. And I encourage you to continue walking with the Lord, day by day…not week by week. “Today is mine”, someone wrote, “tomorrow may never be mine.” I think that’s from the gospel song, One Day at a Time, Dear Jesus. My blessing for you and Mike is from Psalm 91, verses and 10. It reads: “For you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.” “Now may the very God of peace Himself grant you continuous peace in every circumstance.” 2 Thes. 3:16

    • Mom, thank you for those verses in Habakkuk. They are so powerful. They give me great strength. They rise above our perceptions of who our mighty God is. I’m going to send them to Pastor Jeff today. On Facebook, he mentioned that his sermon today was on rejoicing despite the fact that it is still raining in the Virgin Islands and so many people are still without shelter.

  2. Chris, what a powerful message. We will pray for you and your community in the weeks to come and look forward to hearing your voice again on this blog when times are better. May God be with you both.

    • Thank you, Sheila. I’m praying that our faith will shine through to our community so that we can be witnesses of God’s faithfulness to each person whom He loves beyond our comprehension.

  3. I want to think on this more deeply, but for the moment I want to praise the God and Father of all creation, of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all of His blessings to to all who are mine!

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