28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NASV)
We live in a fallen world where sin and natural disasters run rampant. This was not the world God intended for us, but it is the one man chose. People ask how could God allow this to happen, my answer it is the life we wanted.
Though the world is no longer good, there is a promise in Romans that God will work things together for good in difficult times for those called by God.
Perhaps this story out of a hurricane that hit North Carolina in 1876 involving the Providence Methodist Church in Swan Quarter best illustrates this verse. Today, it still has as its motto: “Moved by the Hand of God.”
The story vetted by Snopes started two years earlier in 1874 when the congregation wanted to build a church on land owned by a man named Samuel Slader.
The land was high and would offer protection from the flooding in this area regularly battered by storms. But Slader had other plans and was not interested in selling this prime location near the town’s water front.
The congregation was forced to build at a less favorable location.
Over the next year and a half, they built a typical wood structure church with a tall steeple. Days before they were ready to dedicate it a hurricane hit the area on September 16-17, 1876.
Five feet of water surged inland out of Pamlico Sound lifting the church off its brick foundation causing it to float in the churning water.
According to reports, the church floated down a road and bumped into a corner store owned by George Credle on what is today Oyster Creek Road and US 264 Business street.
After hitting the store, the church verged to the right and slowly moved down the street. It bobbed in the water sailing for two blocks until it reached the corner of Church street.
The building took another left turn, crossing Carawan Canal where it finally got stuck on the higher elevated property owned by Samuel Slader. People reported that before it settled the church actually spun around so the front door was facing the street.
With the church now sitting on the very property the congregation had tried to purchase, Slader eventually took this as a sign from God and sold the land to the congregation.
Due to this miraculous provision, the church changed its name from Methodist Episcopal Church South to The Providence United Methodist Church. They eventually built a larger brick building on the property but kept the miracle church as a reminder of God’s provision.