Our best and worst comes out in hard times

Published 5:58 pm Monday, October 15, 2018

started writing this about, and usually write about, faith and science. But a hurricane just went through southwest Georgia where I live, and I was reminded of a time when I was most proud of my dad. He owned Whatley Electric Company in Cairo, Georgia, and during a previous hurricane in our area, he pulled into a gas station where he was told they had no electricity.

He told them he’d be back in a minute and went to his shop to pick up a generator. He brought it back, wired it into their pumps, and filled his tank. They asked if they could buy it, and he told them, “No, but you can borrow it. Why would you buy it when you won’t need it after the power comes back on?”  He had a half dozen or more generators and lent them all out, refusing to let anyone buy them, because “you won’t need it after the power comes back on.”

I’ve never been more proud of my dad. Meanwhile, someone from out of town was selling those, at that time $400 generators hooked up and ready to run, for $1,000 off the back of a truck. I guess it’s true that storms bring out the best and the worst in people. Some people see the storm as an opportunity “to take advantage” of people and others see it as an opportunity “to help” people.

In fact, we were at EPCOT when the storm came through and stopped on the way home to buy a generator for our son. They didn’t have any, because a man had bought all they had and was taking them to Panama City. I, as the pessimist, was sure he was going to “take advantage” of people who’d lost everything by selling them for several times their worth. My grandson, the optimist, was sure he was a nice man who was taking them to people because he wanted to help them. I really like my grandson’s idea and told him I hoped with all my heart he was right.

We’re reading through the Bible this year and we’ve come to Luke where the angel tells Mary she’ll become pregnant.

“Mary was deeply troubled by the angel’s message, and she wondered what his words meant. The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. Mary said to the angel, “I am a virgin. How, then, can this be (Luke 1)?’”

Mary really wanted to do what was right in God’s eyes and she was afraid her pregnancy would be mis-interpreted. During a storm, some people ask, “How can I take advantage of this disaster?”

My dad and lots of other people asked, and are still asking, “How can I help?”