On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina pounded Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama with its fury. The devastation to life and property is incalculable.
The most troubling effect of the storm is the breakdown of the levee system around New Orleans leading to enormous loss of life and the devastation of an entire city. Accordingly, New Orleans is being emptied of citizens so the city can be drained, cleaned, and restored. The daunting project is speculated to last six to nine months and cost billions of dollars.
Levees are a system of walls, usually earthen, designed to prevent flooding. The word comes from the French word, “lever,” meaning “to raise” and it apparently originated in colonial Louisiana./1 Levees, therefore, raise the ground so the water will stay within its borders.
New Orleans is surrounded by the waters of the Mississippi River, which feeds into the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Ponchartrain. The levees have been a contentious subject for many years as political wranglings and funding battles have raged over whether to upgrade the system. Now that the system has failed, blame is being leveled at every stage of government.
The Times-Picayune website said, “No one can say they didn’t see it coming…Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation.”/2 Representative David Obey of Wisconsin said, “How many times do we have to see disaster overwhelm our preparedness before we recognize that we are playing Russian roulette with people’s lives, with their livelihoods and with the life of whole communities?”/3
As a Christian we need defenses against the onslaught of sin. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (NKJV). We are engaged in a war with Satan. Paul writes, “Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles (tricks, schemes) of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
The defense system of a Christian is built on faith. Faith in the New Orleans’ levee system proved insufficient because it was man-made. Faith in a God who can never fail is a much different matter. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Faith is our levee system defending us against the waves of sin and heartbreak that batter us daily. Jesus said, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “all who desire to live godly will suffer persecution.” We are constantly being pounded by the storms of life.
Faith is how we will be saved from sin (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8; Romans 5:1). It will lead us to bear fruits of repentance (Luke 3:8).
Being born again (John 3:3-5), we will be able to withstand Satan’s attacks by faith in God’s ability to save us (James 1:21).
The building of our levee system will require coming to salvation and remaining faithful to God (Acts 2:38; Revelation 2:10). Then, we remain prepared so that we will not be caught unaware. The levees in New Orleans failed because they exceeded the level which they could withstand.
Faith in God will never fail if we stay close to Christ. We will be “kept by the power of God through faith for salvation” (1 Peter 1:5). In fact, by faith we will not only overcome the storms, but the world itself (1 John 5:4).
We must begin our preparations immediately, because the next storm may be upon us. Remember, preparations cannot be made during the storm. Then, it is too late and the loss may be our eternal souls.