Elizabeth Luter lost everything in Katrina except her trust in God. Despite the dispersion of her spiritual family, the destruction of her home and car, and the devastation of the church where she and her husband had ministered for years, she has nothing but praise for God.
PINE – Elizabeth Luter lost everything in Katrina except her trust in God. Despite the dispersion of her spiritual family, the destruction of her home and car, and the devastation of the church where she and her husband had ministered for years, she has nothing but praise for God.
“God has not allowed me to cry or mourn over Katrina,” she told a group of women gathered at Pine First Baptist Church to hear her speak on the Highway to Holiness at the 6th Annual Women’s Conference.
She said that God has met their every need, even as they have been vagabonds, sleeping on her daughter’s futon and traveling from place to place, ministering to their displaced congregation.
Luter said preparation for this conference was a growing experience for her. God stretched her understanding of the spiritual path that leads to holiness and helped her to understand that we all have to travel that path alone. Ultimately it is our personal relationship with God that determines whether we remain on that straight and narrow path, despite curves like Katrina.
“We are only as crooked as the one who’s leading us,” she reminded.
She added that one could get to Heaven even if they wandered off the Highway of Holiness. One tragedy she saw after Katrina was that many left the highway in anger at God. They lost the joy of their salvation, but she believes those who are still on the road are given the responsibility of praying for and seeking to restore them.
“The enemy plays on our fears,” she said. “When the enemy attacks, get a song,” was her advice.
When she recently underwent surgery, she was tempted to give in to fears about what might happen. God gave her a song, ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.’ Whenever doubts and fears threatened, she sang away the worries. On the morning of her surgery, she was listening to Christian radio as she drove to the hospital. As she turned into the hospital parking lot, the soothing strains of ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus’ came over the airways.
“God is so good,” she said.
Finally, she spoke of the restoration that God gives to those on the Highway of Holiness.
“I needed to come here this weekend,” she said. “You have loved on me since the minute I walked through the door. I’m tired and I didn’t even know how much I needed to be rejuvenated.”
Before Katrina, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church – the church where the Luters minister – had a congregation of 7000 and planned to build a new sanctuary on a 90-acre plot. Now they are meeting in borrowed facilities at First Baptist and are reduced to hundreds.
Through all this, Luter learned something, she said.
Numbers are not what is important. What is important is faithfulness to God’s call.
She remains faithful. She said she was thrilled to share at a rural church conference where the attendance barely topped 100.
For the two years prior to Katrina, Luter said, she stopped leading conferences because she felt God leading her to pour herself into the women in her congregation.
Shortly before Katrina, the women, who she had been discipling, met together. She told them that they would soon leave the comfort of women’s ministry to go into new places of leadership as God called them to different ministries.
She had no idea that those ministries would be in churches from Texas to New England, Luter said. but she is not discouraged about this. Rather, she is excited about how God is using the women He led her to help prepare.
Although exhausted from the travel and ready to settle back into her almost-restored home in New Orleans, Luter shares herself with others. She does not know what the future holds, she said, but she knows who holds that future and with that she said she is content.