May Katrina get at least one to repent, believe
September 6, 2005
Based on an email I received Aug. 31, Hurricane Katrina has rocked all kinds of people—even hardened journalists who so desperately need the Lord.
I used to be a copy editor for the Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald. After reading about the deadly hurricane, I decided to email about 20 of my former newspaper colleagues simply to say that I was praying for them. John (not his real name) was happy to reply with helpful information.
“I’ve heard from James,” he wrote. “Sally evacuated to Brookhaven. Beth lost her home but is OK. Rhonda I haven’t heard from. Keith is OK, his house is gone. Shannon and George are in Fort Walton.”
The names have been changed to ease their pain. I love these folks, and every news report I read reminds me of their suffering.
Most of them have secular worldview tendencies which have enabled them to prosper under the Knight-Ridder corporate umbrella. In other words, they lean to the theological/political “left.” This is how they keep their jobs.
John is a real journalist on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that I happened to befriend, and repeatedly preach the Gospel to from 1991 to 1995. He marveled when Jessica, another copy editor, converted and was baptized through a Bible study my wife and I did. Now John is simply trying to do his job, helping to edit a daily newspaper from Columbus, Ga., where the relocated Sun Herald staff attempts to document the tragedy from afar. His house is in that surreal place. His job is in Georgia.
“My family is with me and the hospitality here has been wonderful,” John wrote. “We have sketchy information about the general area of our home, but it has all been positive so far.”
I guess that means his house is still standing.
I was baptized at First Baptist Church, Biloxi, and later licensed to the Gospel ministry at Pass Road Baptist Church, Gulfport. I proposed to my girlfriend, Susan, at the Mississippi Gulf Coast airport when she came down from Michigan for a visit. We were married one August weekend and drove straight to our new home on the mission field. Folks like John needed to hear from the missionary. And now they need to hear from him again.
America’s newsrooms in the 1990s were teeming with liberals. These were my colleagues in Biloxi, rollicking in an era when the locals legalized dockside casino gambling and the country voted to put Bill Clinton in the White House. Journalists conveniently resorted to ridicule to escape serious Bible discussions. Most were enemies of the Cross. Two of the more rabid partisans were the first to respond to my Hurricane Katrina email. I was scared to look!
Much to my amazement, Dan thanked me for my thoughtfulness. He was in Spanish Fort, Ala., about 200 feet above sea level.
The other guy, a Jewish journalist named David, typed three words. “Thanks,” he wrote. “I’m safe.”
A veteran reporter named Diane tried to find her home, which was no more. She wrote in the Sun Heraldabout how she wandered around in shock – “reporter mode,” she called it – trying to get the scoop on how her entire neighborhood was wiped out. It’s the kind of article that wins national awards, but I wrote to Dan that while I remembered him as a tough guy, I was glad to hear that he was not attempting Diane’s type of journalism.
“Sure, I’m tough,” he wrote back. “But I also knew I had to leave.”
I believe that Katrina may very well turn out to be the tool that God will use to humble all kinds of people.
I read three verses in my Aug. 31 quiet time and quit. I didn’t need to go beyond Isaiah 25:1-3, in which God is identified as the One who can ruin a city for His glory. Biloxi is ruined that way.
Go back transformed, Dan. I plead with you to repent and believe.