The hand of God was in Hurricane Ivan, and the people of Grenada needed “spiritual sight [to] see what the Lord is doing,” said Rose Hall, of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR), Grenada , at a Magnificat tea last December. Hall was sharing her experiences before and during Hurricane Ivan, which struck Grenada last September, and her reflections on the aftermath.
Before that fateful day, she said, Grenada “was divided [politically], the Churches were divided - stealing sheep from each other.
“When the storm was announced, I said, ‘This storm is for us in Grenada '. I felt we had strayed so far that He was teaching us a lesson.”
She prepared for the storm as best she could, and sat in her modest living room and waited, watching television until the electricity was knocked out. She could hear her neighbours screaming as roofs were peeled away, trees torn away from the hillside on which she lived. It had well and truly begun.
“I'd prayed and praised in the days before; now I was just interceding for mercy. I knew God's presence, I knew God's care. I knew God was at work doing something we needed to know and understand.”
By the time Ivan continued its north-westerly path through the Caribbean and the United States , 95 percent of the buildings on the island were damaged or destroyed, and Hall's house did not escape. One third of her roof remained, and all she possessed drenched.
The road to her house was rendered impassible by the remains of an ancient mango tree that had fallen across it. The last of that tree was finally removed the week before Hall came to Barbados to sing her Magnificat .
“But, the Lord has started healing the land,” said the leader of the CCR service team in Grenada . “The day after the storm, the citrus trees were beautifully green – all the mould and mealybug blown away, their roots firmly planted in the ground. It was as if the Lord was asking, ‘Are your roots planted firmly in me? Are you covered in the Blood of Jesus so whatever storm comes you will be covered, planted in the rock of Jesus?'
“Just as the Lord removed disease from the trees, He will remove the disease of sin from our lives. Just as the trees will bear sweeter fruit, if we allow Him to trim us, we will bear bigger, better fruit.”
Trimming can be painful, Hall pointed out. We have to want that sweeter fruit.
“To have a baby, you have to lose your figure. You risk your life, then your life will change forever. If you want to follow the Lord, you pay a price. The price of renewal is total obedience and surrender to the will of God.”
When we accept and surrender to God's decision in our lives, she said, life becomes easy – we “don't fight anymore. Like a marriage that has mellowed, we begin to understand each other.”
The country of her birth is now in a position to make a decision for God, Hall believes.
“ Grenada as a country is down to bottom, which is a good place for God to start,” she said. “It has brought out the best and the worst in us. We can have no delusions, we cannot pretend to be anything but what we are – a country of looters and liars. We hope we will be a country that will allow the Lord to rule and guide us.
“This is a time for reconciliation, for building, not what we had, but what the Lord wants,” Hall concluded, “restoration of souls, minds, hearts.”