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Ed Jordan: Living Without Power

Posted: 10/19/18 at 12:35pm. Column by Ed Jordan. 

This past week has been one of those life events that I wish had never happened.

My wife and I returned from an overseas trip, but we caught some kind of illness on the plane coming home. It was one of those awful cough and cold conditions that just would not go away.

After a week and a half of coughing, I am ready to go to the doctor. Coughing day and night, day after day, takes its toll.

Wednesday and Thursday I did some catching up, visiting some people whom I needed to see. I planned a funeral with a family and then went to bed early.

Thursday night, the speedy and powerful derivative of Hurricane Michael came crashing into our island and the surrounding region of Virginia. The power went out.

We tried to escape it Friday morning, only to find the power out in lots of neighborhoods in Gloucester and Newport News. Trees were down all over the place, bringing down powerlines and internet service.

It is now Saturday afternoon, and the power’s return is still not on the horizon. The newspaper we saw said, “Maybe by Monday there will be power back on.”

I have endured situations without power before, but it gets old when everything, including toilets, water, heat, and cooking, all depend upon electricity that is not available.

Our lives are so very dependent upon electricity and technology that we are crippled without it.

I didn’t get my newspaper column done, nor did I get my sermon printed to use in a worship service before the power was gone. In our large auditorium, a sound system is required to be able to speak loud enough for people to hear the message. No electricity, no bathrooms, no sound system, no organ music, no choir, so there will be no services.

Having said all of this, there is a point to my dilemma. Our lives are so very dependent upon electricity and technology that we are crippled without it. When the power is out you realize how much of our work is done on electronic devices, how much of our communication requires an internet connection, and how much you miss a shower when you can’t take one.

I know that there are people in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina in much more devastating conditions than we are. I can’t imagine what life is like for the people in those areas. But it is a sobering thing to be without power even for for just three days.

One of the side effects of not having power is that we revert to a cash-only society. The credit card machines can’t connect with the banks, even if a generator is running the gas pump. Banks, too, can only do their business on a cash-only basis when electronic banking services are offline.

The few restaurants open are providing services for “cash only,” as is the grocery store. Debit and credit cards need electronic card readers and online connections to complete transactions. If there is no internet service–nor electricity–then much of our business comes to a halt.

As I reflected on how complicated our lives suddenly become in the absence of electricity and internet service, I began to think about a large percentage of the population of our country who have no connection at all to God.

They live their lives without even giving a thought to God. For believers, God is our source of power and wisdom that goes beyond our own human resources. But for those who don’t believe in God, or refuse to ask for his help, where do they turn when tragedy strikes?

When every event in a day mitigates against forward progress, how do they find the power to go on?

In Matthew 28:18 (ESV) we read: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Therefore we are to go out into the world and tell others about Jesus. When we become Christians, God comes to live within us to give us the power needed to do what God asks us to do. God’s power gives us perseverance to keep going when the going gets tough.

The next time you are without electrical power, consider thinking of and praying for those who are spiritually disconnected from God—the source of eternal power. How do we help them get connected to real power?

ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. You may also read his past columns.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.