ctober in Connecticut: Nature paints a stunning picture of orange, red, yellow, and brown that attracts people from far and near.
For the last weekend in October 2011, however, forecasters predicted a snowstorm. Shopkeepers were busy as consumers stocked up on candles, flashlights, and food supplies. Soon, generators would become a hot item.
The much-anticipated storm began around midday on Saturday. Life slowed down as people stayed home to wait out what we thought would be perhaps a night and a day of fresh snow.
I sat in my home looking through the windows, admiring the beauty of the snowfall from various angles. About four o’clock, the lights flickered . . . and then the outage began. I waited for a while, anticipating the return of electricity, before I finally decided to light a few candles.
When I went to bed, I figured there would be no church services the next morning due to the heavy snow, but I was confident the power would return soon.
Sunday morning was dismal. The trees on my property were laden with fresh snow, and many branches ultimately collapsed. Not having access to TV or radio, I was kept abreast of happenings through my cell phone.
My home got colder and colder until I was encouraged to leave and seek shelter with a relative. Meanwhile, my cell phone died. Little did I know that thousands of people, including some of my friends, were already resorting to emergency shelters.
A few sections in the community had not experienced a power outage, and, fortunately, my niece lived in one of those areas. I packed a bag with a few essentials and headed off to where there was electricity.
On my way, I saw the devastation the short-lived storm had created. Many huge trees had been uprooted. Branches that were not on the ground looked as if they were bowing in prayer. Citizens were urged to avoid fallen power lines.
On Monday, businesses and some government offices were either closed or operated with a skeleton crew. Many people were unable to leave their homes due to broken branches that blocked their driveways, or they had no running water or heat.
The government provided food and water to many neighborhoods, and people who had the means cared for relatives and friends. Each day there was a glimmer of hope from the electric company that power would be restored in certain areas. However, that hope frustrated citizens where homes remained dark.
Each day, life without electricity created new complications. Perishable food spoiled . . . food supplies became scarce . . . and the price of generators rose tremendously as the demand increased.
Electricity was restored to my house on November 5—one week after the storm began.
After most customers had regained power, weather forecasters cautioned residents of an impending heavy rain and winds that could knock down tree limbs that had been snapped or weakened by the snowstorm. They were right: once the rain began to pour, thousands were plunged back into darkness.
The storm created havoc in many households as relatives and friends huddled together for warmth and safety. Several lives were lost—some by the improper use of generators. For example, a 27-year-old woman had her generator placed in her basement for fear that if left outside, it would be stolen. She died from gasoline fumes.
Relationships were particularly vulnerable, with people being in close quarters and not having television to create a dis- traction. Shelters reported high volume of families that had come to escape the cold. This type of closeness was detrimental to some individuals who already suffered from certain types of psychological and emotional stressors. At the same time, people living alone experienced fear and isolation if no one was able to reach them.
My week with my relatives allowed me to use my time wisely—thinking and reconnecting. We talked about our early existence in Jamaica, where power outages were frequent and many people lived without certain amenities. As the week wore on, I prayerfully connected with family and friends as I thought about their physical and spiritual welfare. Life had slowed to the point where I had time to reflect.
Life without electric power had a meaningful impact that forced me as a minister to contemplate life without the power of God. Without the divine connection that infuses new life and fresh anointing, we become spiritually parched, lethargic, and sickly. We need the power of God to propel us to an existence of meaning.
Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Without His indelible light, we walk in darkness and become numb to the atrocities of this life. We need spiritual enlightenment that illuminates our darkness and dismal worldview, and shows others the way to Christ.
My life without electricity taught me the importance of taking time to love, laugh, and live. As this lesson is transferred to my daily existence, I hope others can feel the impact of godly love and divine power through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit was sent by Christ to clothe us with power (Luke 24:49). The Spirit empowers to exercise our faith, which is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). People trapped in dilemmas of life need God to deliver their bodies and liberate their minds, and we can show them the way.
However, just as we are handicapped without electric power in our environment, we also cannot function effectively without the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. Those who attempt great things need great power.
The Holy Spirit came to empower the Church. If the Church is not manifesting that power, we need to examine our relationship with Him. Evidences of God’s power are spiritual bondages being broken, sick bodies being healed, and demonic forces being overcome.
After a week without electricity, I gained a greater appreciation for everyday blessings like hot water, heat, the light above my kitchen sink, and my washing machine and dryer. More indelibly, I am now more aware of how much I need the wonder-working power of God in my daily life.