My Beloved St. John

I keep checking on reports coming out of the U.S. Virgin Islands. I’m so concerned for the people and the economy of St. John. The Caribbean is hurricane haven, so islanders are used to destruction caused by storms, but Irma delivered a crippling punch. The rebuilding process will require much patience. For now, the folks that remain are in need of the basic necessities for life. Pray for those who live in these isolated places, because their storm recovery is challenged.

My husband and I honeymooned on a Caribbean cruise and ventured over to St. John from St. Thomas for a day of sailing and snorkeling. We fell in love because the island was so naturally beautiful. In a little over twenty years, we returned five times. Family vacations to St. John for us meant hiking tropical trails in the morning, snorkeling in the afternoon, market shopping in the evening, and grilling while overlooking the most scenic vistas imaginable. Rinse and repeat.

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St. John is so imprinted upon our hearts that we characterize a breezy, pink sunrise as an island-style start of the day. Jon and I sometimes compare thoughts about blue skies contrasting against white puffy clouds and realize we both have St. John on our minds. Even as I type there is a low rain cloud blowing past that is typical of their daily tropical weather effects.

I’m trying to process how I would feel if I was on the island. I imagine, though, that the locals have no time for emotional reflection. Perhaps a state of numbness overtakes them while they expend all energy to do what is absolutely necessary. Shock is a powerful and necessary state… But when each one has time later down the road to think on what they have lived through, I hope truth surfaces: this world is fallen and cannot satisfy longterm our desire for pleasure. Anything short of God’s offer of abundant life in Jesus Christ will prove itself imperfect. If a life built upon a marriage with one’s soul mate is the picture of perfection, a later state of widowhood will prove that ideal to be only a temporary pleasure. If the perfect career delivers the much needed sense of value and identity, a later state of joblessness will prove it was a temporary pleasure. If a tropical paradise caters to one’s need for easy living and beautiful surroundings, that too will be stripped bare and revealed as only a temporary pleasure.

Friend, for all who have believed upon Jesus Christ for salvation, this world is not home; our citizenship is in heaven. What we are to be about in the meantime is sharing the good news: Jesus is the hope for all humanity, and all that the soul craves is satisfied in Him. He fills us with joy in His presence, and He has eternal things in store that are too wonderful for the mind to conceive. In these critical times of victims dealing with a displaced hope, we have the treasure they seek. Jesus always has been and always will be the Refuge in the storm.

 

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