No matter how “deep the water”, Bahamians were reminded that God is still with them and is only a prayer away, by Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) President Bishop Delton Fernander. Fernander called for Bahamians to remember that whatever the circumstance, the Lord is always a very present help in the time of trouble.
During a national prayer service after the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Dorian on Abaco and Grand Bahama, Fernander said that Bahamians should be cognizant of the fact that the world will continue to put people in deep water situations, making them feel like they can’t light it up.
“These are dark times – you need to light it up,” said Fernander during the Wednesday, September 18 service.
“When the world presses, Jesus says, ‘Just call my name, I’ll be there!’”
Fernander reminded guests of God’s commitment to stand by, protect and empower His people.
“God’s words to Israel were clear: ‘When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee …; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.’ These words emphasize a clear commitment by our Lord to be with His people in their time of need. Likewise, Jesus gave a final charge to His disciples before He returned to heaven and instructed them to go and preach and teach what they had seen and heard in all parts of the world. Regardless of the difficulties that were to come, He reminded them that He would be with them always, even unto the end of the earth.”
In the wake of the devastation, the BCC chief said Bahamians must also now appreciate the fact that people are more important than things, and to be conscious of how they speak of/to and treat each other.
“Many who would have accomplished and acquired much found themselves having to ask for assistance. Many found out that while we place so much importance on cars, houses and other materials things, on the days that Dorian hovered over The Bahamas, all our brothers and sisters to the north had was each other. On those islands, at that time – race, class, social status, political persuasion, all the -isms and schisms that divide us took a back seat to survival. The residents in these islands have harrowing eyewitness accounts of how many lives were lost and their testimonies of how faith, grace and the mercy of our Lord and Savior saved their lives in the treacherous winds of up to 185 [miles] per hour with 200-plus miles-per-hour gusts.”
During the service, Fernander spoke to many survivors who escaped with just the clothes on their backs. He said for many of them, life has new meaning, and lack is secondary.
“Their faith and resilience fuel their belief that their material loss will be restored and multiplied. What is of paramount importance to them is that they are alive; they are grateful. As a matter of fact, we are all grateful.”
Those that lost loved ones in the storm, said Fernander, will never forget; and those who lost homes, cars and other material possessions, must now find the strength to start over.
People not directly affected by the storm, he said, must donate their time, talent and treasure in an attempt to ease the burden of daily life on Hurricane Dorian survivors.
Fernander reminded that God never puts more on His people than they can bear, and that in every adversity there is opportunity.
“We are now left with the Herculean task of rebuilding the northernmost islands of our country and in doing so we must examine how we rebuild and where we rebuild. Now is the time that the best and brightest minds of our nation must come together to formulate plans of how we move forward developing our islands, drafting and enforcing legislation, devising and practicing protocols and procedures, using the knowledge gained from the experience of Dorian. We also, now more than ever, must recommit ourselves to emphasizing the importance of a God-consciousness in our country,” Fernander said.
The BCC chief said God is the same for every generation and that people can expect Him to be with them in tough situations when they appear to be over their heads.
“Troubles are always around, lurking behind every corner, waiting for an opportunity to besiege the unsuspecting. Troubles cause us plenty of worry, hardship and anxiety. Some people age before their time because of trouble. When trouble comes, even the strongest Christian can feel the heat of the fire. Even mature Christians need extra strength to handle troubles. We must always remember that God will not leave us or forsake us regardless of our circumstance,” he said.