Relief & Another’s Misfortune

When I went to sleep, the forecast track of a major hurricane looked like it would come right over my farm. This would cost us dearly. Even without damages, even if it were a false alarm, it would cost us a great deal of time and effort to prepare. And the sales, oh, how can you make up for two lost weeks? Who wants to plant new flowers, shrubs and trees when a major storm is heading your way?

When I awoke, the storm track had shifted. Now it looks like it won’t even come close.

Of course, there’s still a chance. Anything could happen. Perhaps tommorrow morning there will be another dramatic turn in store, but in this moment I am so very glad. Unspeakably relieved. Thank you, Lord!

But people–people much poorer than I–are being devastated by this storm right now, this very minute. They are very far away, on some Caribbean island. And tomorrow, it will be Florida. Not my problem. I was worried, preoccupied. But now I can relax; go about my business. No worries.

He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.

Sure, I can tell myself that I’m not “glad at calamity,” not “rejoicing in another’s misfortune.” I’m not “mocking the poor.” It’s not wrong to feel relief, to be glad to be spared destruction. But something tells me I’m far too quick to stop caring about this storm that rages out there. It might not be coming to my door today or tomorrow or this year or next. It might never come. We who have chosen to dwell in safe harbors, to build houses on solid rocks…how do we react when ruin comes to the unfortunate?

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