[PC-USA] 2008-08-21 - Katrina Revisted

In light of the current situaton with Hurricane Faye, I felt God leading me to "replay" this devotional I wrote on 9-2-2005, after Hurricane Katrina.

In the last couple days, the world has been overwhelmed with the pain and devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's path. What are we, as Christians, to do with this?

First, let's look at what we should not do with it.

Let's not jump to conclusions.

Some believe it's God's judgment on the areas hit. But we need to be careful about pouncing to this conclusion. That's easy to say when it's not your own town that was destroyed. But as Job taught us, bad things happen to good people, and as the true cliche says, " there but for the grace of God, go I." Let's not be as Job's friends, who spent more time trying to figure out which sin(s) caused the disasters, than comforting their friend. Anyone who sees this as judgment needs to go back and revisit this book of the Bible, as well as the story where Jesus was asked whose sin caused someone's blindness.

Some say it's a sign of the end times. Maybe, maybe not. People have been saying that about natural disasters for thousands of years. As our Lord taught us, even He didn't know the exact time of the end of the world, so we certainly can't honestly claim to, either. Let's spend our time doing something more productive than speculating on something we can't possibly know.

What else should we not do? Anything not edifying. May our words and actions lead to applying the balm of Gilead. This is the time to pull together, as we have ably shown we can do, i.e. after the 9-11 terroristic tragedy.

What can we do? Obviously any of us, no matter our financial state, can and should pray - for victims, for crisis responders, for emergency personnel, for utility workers, for community and national leaders.

If you can afford it, share some of your financial blessings. But be a wise steward. Give to a reputable organization such as the Salvation Army, Red Cross or Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, The National Organization for Victim Assistance or the Southern Baptist Convention - anyone with low overhead and high accountability.

If you are in close proximity to victim(s), be there for them emotionally. They may need to "tell their story" over and over. This is one of God's therapies for our pain, "bleeding it out." Don't tell them you understand; unless you have been a victim of a life-altering disaster, you do not, and that well-meaning sentence can cheapen their experience. Don't tell them "it was God's will." That's a very simplistic sentence that doesn't begin to explain a very complex concept. There is God's allowed will and his intentional will, and this isn't the time to get into that theology. God's will is for us to be loving to these victims. The best thing you can say is........nothing. Simply be there.

And listen. Listen. Listen.

In the face of such incredibly deep pain, we may feel we can't make a difference, that our help will just be a drop in the bucket. But with drops from all across the country and around the world, we can fill the bucket and make a difference.

Comments or Questions,

[email jan] cfdevcfpray@yahoo.com