I just heard on the radio that FEMA has a "Waffle House Index." According to the announcer, if FEMA registers the 24/7 chain as green, it means "Open with Full Menu." Yellow is open with limited menu. Red means the Waffle House is closed and FEMA had better get to that area quickly; things are bad.
While we pray for the people of Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the US coast, we hope the Waffle House Index remains green in Florence and we can be together to worship God Sunday morning. So far, it's looking that way. Even the Gamecocks helped us by scheduling their game late enough Sunday for people to attend a 9:00 a.m. service and still make it to kick-off.
Life is a bit like the Waffle House Index, isn't it? There are times when things are going as expected, perhaps a little heavy, sometimes quite sweet, but functioning the way you thought it would. There are times when something interrupts the usual and you can only partially function, enough to handle the minimum necessities, but lacking the full force of what you'd like to do. Then there are those times when the world is turned upside down and all normalcy is lost, seemingly forever.
When Jeremiah wrote his letters, a portion of which we'll hear Sunday (Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7), the people of Israel were in the red zone - everything had changed and would be for the foreseeable future. Jeremiah wanted to give them a sense of what their future held, which included a lifetime of exile, but also hope because, one day, the Lord would restore them. We need that word, especially when our life gets in the red zone.
Whatever zone we're in, we need the word Paul shared in 2 Timothy 2:8-15, a call to endurance in the face of hardship. Whether things are going along relatively smoothly or at a standstill, our call is to be faithful to the Lord who is always faithful to us.
May God protect us this weekend and beyond, and bring us together to worship him on Sunday.
I hope to see you then.