Yesterday, we experienced a mass power outage that encompassed much of Southern Oregon and extended into Northern California. The last report we heard from the local power company, Pacific Power, was that the number of customers without power had exceeded 80,000. While normally, Pacific Power gives an estimated time for restored service and is very good about meeting their goal, apparently yesterday it was a bit too much to estimate—what they could tell us is that all of their available help was dispatched and busy!
What was the cause of all this lack of power? A huge storm, dropping buckets of rain driven by powerful continuous winds.
My husband and daughter, having been out on an errand in town, arrived back home in the midst of the downpour. My husband was helping a friend get a trailer parked, and by the time this simple job was accomplished, his heavy coat was doing anything but keeping him warm.
He came into the house and asked me, “Guess what happened to me!” My best “guess” was “You fell into the creek?!” He was saturated to the point of dripping wet.
Before long, his fire pager began what would turn out to be a long list of difficulties: downed power line…potential fire…difficulty breathing…heart attack…difficulty breathing…difficulty breathing…difficulty breathing… You see, without power, many people struggle with the simple luxury most of us enjoy of taking in sufficient oxygen to survive.
We were praying here—and I’m sure many others were, too.
The whole ordeal brings to mind an even greater and more widespread power outage. It is the lack of the Holy Spirit; and it relates in so many ways, it would do us well to consider.
1) There is a mighty storm.
The storm yesterday was passing; but it brought effects that lasted for hours. There is a greater storm: the battle between Christ and Satan, good and evil. This storm, too, is passing—it will have an end—but in the meantime, it is affecting us in one way or another.
2) We must realize our lack of power.
It would have been ridiculous for anyone to go on pretending there was power there when there was not. If the lights don’t work, they don’t work. If the life-giving oxygen is not flowing, it is not flowing. Once we notice a lack of power in our own life, all we can do is simply admit it—going on pretending will only lead to certain disaster.
3) We must accept the help sent our way.
I, for one, was powerless to do a thing about restoring the power—besides calling for help. Once someone had made the call to ask for help, we just had to patiently wait for the qualified men and women to do their part and the power to be restored.
Our God has infinite resources for our aid, such as His own Holy Spirit and His magnificent army of angels. We must accept the help He sends our way.
4) Unless the lines are up and connected, no power is coming our way.
Simple as that. Even if the sun’s nearly boundless energy could be somehow routed into the system, if the lines are not up, we will not be receiving any of that power.
Think about our efforts of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ as “putting up the lines.”
God has given us who know Him the vital job of opening the way for others to know Him. Yes, He must put the power in the lines, but He has asked us to make the connection with the lives around us. Be it Vacation Bible School, community service projects, evangelistic programs, or simply reaching out a helping hand to a neighbor in need, we must make the effort to utilize the power He supplies.
5) We must let the power in.
We have learned to flip off the main house breaker when the power goes out as an extra safety precaution against any potential surge when the lines are re-charged. With that in mind, however, unless we at some point flip the breaker back on, we will never benefit from all of the other work done on our behalf.
We must realize that the ultimate power of choice lies in the hands of each individual. God does not utilize force and we must not either. We may work for the children or the needy or our neighbors and still be refused. Unfortunately, the potential is part of the job. But think of all those who have decided to let the power in—the work was well worth the prize!
The power was finally restored to our home in the night. We suffered only inconveniences, but our hearts have gone out to those who suffered more keenly. It is my prayer that the power will be restored in the hearts and lives of Christians around the world, that we will feel for those who are suffering more keenly even now, and that once it has all been said and done, we will be able to confidently proclaim, “Heaven is cheap enough!”
“He giveth power to the faint and to them that have no might, He increaseth strength.” –Isaiah 40:29