These past few weeks have been difficult for many people, whether it was because of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, the many fires out west, Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean and Florida, the earthquake in Mexico or another hurricane called Maria that slammed into Puerto Rico and nearby islands, some for a second time in just a couple of weeks. Irma left devastation in her wake that will, in many cases, take years to rebuild and replace. A great many people in my area were without power for days and have finally returned to their homes happy to flip on a light switch. There are no longer long lines of cars waiting to fill up with gas however the grocery stores still have empty cases that usually hold chilled meats and fish. Life feels much more normal for us once again. But I will say the anxiousness remains even though the area around us is in repair, yet there are so many other lives that continue to feel the effects of the calamity from the powerful forces of nature.
Last week, I was traveling home through Alabama and the radio announcer gave an update on Hurricane Maria whose path was yet uncertain. Having just lived through Irma, his words struck me as selfish and lacking of any empathy for the people in Maria’s path. He stated that he hoped Maria would take the same path as Irma had so that it would stay away from the gulf shores namely his area. I was flabbergasted at the remarks and his lack of awareness of the destruction of the Caribbean Islands, Key West, the west coast of Florida as well as the repercussions that affected the east coast too. Nobody wants to be in the path of a storm for sure, however I believe that we can certainly show more empathy and caring for people outside of the security of our own space.
What this past month has taught me is to be grateful for all that I have and praise God that I am healthy and whole. However, the tragedies, whether hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, war or the threat of it are moments for me to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world. God needs our help to assist others reset their lives in any way possible, whether it is donating money to helping organizations like The Red Cross or finding a neighbor that may need help with clean-up or even giving your time and attention to listen to the stories of survival. Most importantly, to pray for all people who are displaced, without power or medical care, food and water that they are able to find the help they need. We are all part of God’s created world regardless of where we call home and we need each other, maybe not this time, but the next. So yes God is good, however keep in mind, the many biblical texts that give us directions when it comes to taking care of others like this:
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3: 17-18