My Hometown…

I was eight years old and running with a dime in my hand
Into the bus stop to pick up a paper for my old man
I’d sit on his lap in that big old Buick and steer as we drove through town
He’d tousle my hair and say son take a good look around this is your hometown
This is your hometown – Springsteen

What is it about our hometown? The nostalgia and love seems to grow with each passing year. Even though I’ve called Tampa home for some 24 years, the 7 years I spent (4th – 11th grade) in Hammond Louisiana, a bedroom community north of New Orleans, still feels like my hometown…well, until the bomb shell of a cat 5 hurricane changed everything.

After the events of Hurricane Katrina in late August of 2005, Hammond saw its population nearly double overnight. As of December 2005, Hammond is now home to over 37,000 people which has seriously strained city and parish services and brought traffic to a stand still. To watch the hurricane devastate my hometown broke my heart. What I once remembered as home will now never be the same. I visited shortly after the hurricane, and sentimental memory was gone. In fact, my high school was converted into a trucking school of all things! An old high school buddy of mine told me about our sports trophies that once proudly shined bright in the school’s glass cases. He said they are all thrown in a box in the garage of a friend of ours who would gladly give them to anyone who would take them. My hometown.

This past Monday night at around 11:30 pm Israeli TV reported that missiles fell in Nazareth. Have you ever considered that Jesus has a hometown too? It seems that the Hezbollah fighters are not accurate in where they aim their missiles. Most fell on undeveloped land. But this is Nazareth – the hometown of Jesus. Many Christians in the area are a part of a Bible study in the Baptist church on Wednesday evenings. Did they cancel it because of the shock and dismay in Nazareth? No way. They decided to convert the Bible study to a prayer meeting.

Less than a mile from where a Hezbollah missile hit an empty garage in Nazareth, the Prince of Peace declared: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” It was realized 2,000 years ago when God sent his son to give hope. He was the anointed who said:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19)

His heart must break for His hometown. It makes me wonder why? And then I read this morning in Proverbs 25:2 – God delights in concealing things…
Makes me think back to an often claimed promise that He never wastes our pain. I just must trust His heart.

Father, I am so sorry for your hometown. I kinda know how you may feel – and it hurts.

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