Friday, September 19, 2008

Being Powerless

What a week in Louisville! It started last Sunday on a blustery afternoon and we had no idea what the winds would blow in. We experienced the effects of Hurricane Ike, what I like to call "Hurricane Ike, Jr." that literally took our city to its knees in a matter of four hours. As I left lunch after church on Sunday, I realized it was extremely windy. I fully expected to see the Wicked Witch bicycling through the air or Winnie the Pooh hanging on to a fragile limb. But, I didn't know the extent of what I was driving in until I got home.

I arrived home to no power and the notification from friends that something harsh was going on. Reports on the drive home were downed power lines, downed trees, and I knew it was bad news when our evening service at my church was canceled due to no power. Therein began my quest to exist like a pioneer. I have a land line in my house, but all are cordless phones, so the only phone that worked was my cell phone, which was losing power fast. I decided to spend the afternoon doing a little Bible study to calm the nerves, but after a while, reading by flashlight was difficult.

I decided to go out to my car to charge my phone and listen to the radio since I was fresh out of AA batteries and my one and only battery-powered radio batteries were dead. While listening to the radio, I realized the immense amount of damage and outage. Winds of 75-81mph were reported in the area causing massive destruction. Nearly 300,000 residents were without power, the police were asking people to stay home, and my power being out and no damage was a blessing many people weren't experiencing. Am I living in Hurricane Alley, or the Ohio Valley?

As daylight ended around 8:30, I decided to get my MacGyver on and figure out a way to get my radio to work. I scavengered batteries from my remote controls (obviously useless during a power outage) and got my radio to work! I was in bed by 9pm and listening to talk radio for the latest city updates. A nice throwback to what many of the older generation calls "the good ole days."

I was one of the blessed homes. At 6:40am the next morning, my power came on. One of my co-workers never lost power and said she suffered from "I didn't lose power" guilt, and I have to say I fared so much better than most and felt that guilt too. Almost a week later and schools have been closed for the week, and 95,000 residents are still without power. It's been surreal. While our infrastructure was in ruins, the weather was absolutely beautiful...a blessing for those who had no power, hence no air conditioning for the week..and none was needed. And our city was preparing for the Ryder Cup with thousands of out-of-town guests arriving for the golf extravaganza. This week has seemed like three weeks in one for a lot of people.

All week, I found myself asking the same question, and being asked this question multiple times...."Do you have power?" "Are you still powerless?" It hit me every time those questions were asked that we are powerless in our lives without True Power. I might have electricity flooding through the veins of my house circuitry, but if I'm not connected to the One who provides real Power, I'm powerless. Act 1:8 says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you..." I'm so thankful that no matter how strong the winds and devasting the damage, the Holy Spirit never has an outage.