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God offers subtle reminders; He will provide

And God said, ‘When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. To destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth’

Genesis 8:14-16. 

September was a lot different than I expected, but not for the Lord. At the end of August while I was on regular Air Force duty in Belle Chasse, I got a call saying that I’d been “activated” for Hurricane Laura response/recovery efforts. Although I’ve been a part of the Louisiana Air National Guard for over two years, I’d never been activated for a hurricane before and didn’t know what to expect.

My Chaplain Supervisor told me to pack for at least two weeks. As the hurricane slowly moved across Louisiana, the damage was unreal. Many weather stations lost track of the storm’s power with wind gusts surpassing 140 mph in the most affected areas. I do not exaggerate when I say this, but every powerline pole in every visible direction was completely snapped in half; even some made of concrete were broken.

My job as a Chaplain was to visit different POD sites every day.

The military loves acronyms. POD stands for: Point Of Distribution. The area that got hit the worst was Lake Charles. Imagine if you’re looking at a map of Lake Charles, and every 20-30 miles in every direction, the Army set up PODs for the community.

At these PODs, the community was able to pick up bottled water, ice, tarps and (moderately edible) MREs in a drive-through, assembly line fashion.

At each POD site I visited, I’d check on Army and Air Force troops, help hand out supplies in the assembly line, and most importantly, hand out Bibles. I’d walk up to a person’s car and hand them a Bible, saying, “God bless y’all. Stay safe.”

The reactions were priceless. At first, some were confused but after people caught on, they were asking for them left and right. It’s always a good day when you run out of Bibles to give to others. Emotions were raw.

Many people were brought to tears when I handed them a Bible, which of course caused me to tear up. The hope they received from a copy of the story of Jesus, our immortal, living, human God, the true Bread of Life, is hard to describe.

Although the circumstances weren’t great, and some aren’t expected to have electricity again until December, they were relieved to have a copy of God’s Word in their hands.

But — to top that experience, the Lord truly surprised me almost every day while I was heading back to Lafayette where we bunked each night. I lost count of seeing this unexpected wonder, although I should have expected it: a rainbow in the sky. Every time I saw one, I paused for a few moments to take in its beauty and the meaning of the rainbow for the Christian. The damage in Lake Charles, Topsy, Vinton, DeRidder, Oakdale, and so many other areas is unimaginable — but, at the end of the day, through the “mess,” God provided a sign for every believer that He hasn’t forgotten us and most importantly, He doesn’t break His promises.

Imagine Noah’s reaction when he saw the first rainbow after experiencing the biggest flood the history of the world has ever seen. What did God tell him? I haven’t forgotten you. My promise to you is everlasting.

Friends, please continue praying for Lake Charles and surrounding areas. We’re quick to forget about people in need — and they need our help. Hopefully this month, New Covenant can find some more ways to get involved. The next time you see a rainbow, I challenge you to pause for a few moments and thank God for His promises, faithfulness, love, commitment, and dedication to us as His children, made in His image.

The rainbow is so much more than a misguided symbol for sexual orientation — it is a promise to repenting sinners, that no matter what we’ve lost in physical, spiritual, mental, or emotional storms — God is always giving us subtle reminders that He is there and He will bless us (1 Corinthians 10:13, James 1:1-12).

Seth Duhs is pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Natchez.

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