Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of hurricane Katrina’s destruction as well as the fourth anniversary of my own personal hurricane. As multiple levees collapsed, so did neighborhoods, families and lives. And though I wasn’t in New Orleans the day Katrina came inland, I too was in its path, desperate to see a doctor just off the Florida coastline.
For the sake of context, in 2004 I had been serving at a Bible College in central Germany and I had just made my third missions outreach to India. Both experiences were incredibly beautiful and fruitful, and I was excited about what was to come. Next, 2005 brought an outreach to Munich and another glorious ministry stop in Salzburg. But upon my return to Nashville from these trips, jet-lag seemed to linger indefinitely and eventually great fatigue was followed by fever, then tremors, then weight loss and depression. Thirty-pounds and 9 months later, about the time Katrina began to form over the Atlantic, I boarded a plane to see yet another specialist, this one in Florida because my situation had become critical and I felt I only had a few weeks to live.
God bless the airline agent who (after my first flight cancelled) figured out a path for me through the storm. God bless the ‘friends of friends’ who collected me at the airport, got me to the doctor and sat with me through all the tests and the first of many treatments. God bless the doctor who finally diagnosed me with malaria and offered the first ray of hope in months. And God bless all the friends and family who stood by me when I could not stand at all and literally carried me through this season.
Though it took me months and even years to recover, I am well again, and so grateful to be able to work and minister, travel and write. And while I cannot explain why some people’s storms yield more storms, even death, the words of the apostle Paul found in Romans 8:38 still encourage me: “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Despite everything, I am convinced of this too.
May God bless you and keep you, always.