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Five ways Hurricane Sandy could affect the election

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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A wave crashes over the protecting sandbags in front of the houses on the east side of Ocean Isle Beach during Hurricane Sandy in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, October 27, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/Randall Hill)

As Hurricane Sandy targets the East Coast, nearly 8,000 airline flights have been cancelled.  Mass closures of schools and public transit systems have resulted; hundreds of thousands of residents have been told to evacuate their homes.  Federal government offices in the Washington area are closed today.  The New York Stock Exchange is closing its trading floor as well, its first weather-related closure in 27 years.

What does “Frankenstorm” mean for the presidential election, now just eight days away?  Politico suggests five possibilities.  One: it could slow Mitt Romney’s momentum by lessening his ability to campaign in states affected by the storm.  Two: it could give President Obama a natural advantage as he exercises his duties in response to the emergency.  Three: it could affect last-minute TV ads, as people without power won’t see them.  Four: it won’t affect early voting much, as most of the states in the storm’s path allow such voting only for absentees.  Five: it could hamper Democrats’ efforts to get out their vote.

As our country braces for one of the most destructive storms in years, it’s natural to ask: why would an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God allow such a disaster? If God is sovereign, he must either cause or allow all that happens.  However, as I often say in dealing with evil and suffering, he then redeems for greater good all he allows.  How might he redeem Hurricane Sandy?

Last night my wife and I attended a gathering at which a dear friend made an observation I’d never considered.  He asked, “Why would God make Canaan the Jews’ ‘promised land'”?  It’s been the battleground of superpowers for millennia and has few natural resources.  His answer: so that Israel would be dependent on him.  As he put it: the greatest blessing God can give us is to put us in a position where we must trust in him, for such dependence is our only path to joy.  He will do whatever is necessary to disrupt our self-sufficiency and illusion of control.

For weeks our nation has been fixated on the presidential election as we decide what direction we want our country to take.  Hurricane Sandy is reminding us that we’re not in charge of our future.  The next storm or car accident or doctor’s report can change our lives forever.  James asked, “What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

When we make Jesus the King of this minute, we give him the only reality that exists.  All of God there is, is in this moment, redeeming for greater good all we trust to his providential care.  Yesterday morning, the church where I spoke sang these words about Jesus: “On Friday a thief, on Sunday a King.”  What storm would you trust to your risen Ruler today?