We have a church mission team leaving for New Orleans tomorrow for our second year in a row. Last year we took five people. This year we have ten going (7 who actually attend church here and three friends). In New Orleans, even after all these years, to still see blocks of leveled foundations with nothing else there is to realize how much work is yet to be done. When we were there last year, we heard stories of some people who didn’t even know if spouses and children were alive for two months! We heard stories of people who rebuilt, while heard of others who left and never came back. We are going to help a family in a small way as we work on their home and help others by listening to their stories of Katrina that (as we found out last year) they love to tell. Those who are going this year will see for themselves that Hurricane Katrina changed New Orleans and the people there forever. Things will never be completely restored.
Katrina’s impact on New Orleans could be a parable of us. Katrina entered and destroyed New Orleans. Sin entered and destroyed the world. As a whole, New Orleans will never completely recover. And as we found out a month ago with Hurricane Isaac, New Orleans never knows when another storm is coming to destroy.
You know this is where the “parable” takes a twist. We can be restored. We can be redeemed. Our relationship with God can be made exactly what it was before sin destroyed that relationship. And we’re not the ones who can restore it. Only the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, only God giving Himself up, restores us to a right relationship with Him. We can try and try to build and rebuild our lives, but we are building on sand never knowing when a storm is coming. Only when we build on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ can we be assured that we will be restored and that another storm won’t tear up what we’ve rebuilt.