I have been glued to the TV for days now, watching in disbelief the events that have unfolded in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The loss of life, the loss of property, the loss of possessions. In the matter of hours a mighty city, along with several other gulf coast towns, were literally wiped off the face of the earth. Billions of dollars in damage and thousands of lives lost. It is heart wrenching to watch the scenes on the news and yet we cannot stop watching it. Thinking about it. Praying about it.
The forces of nature, as we have seen first hand, is more powerful than we can ever imagine. The power of the storms that develop in the oceans are bigger and more powerful than anything we can fathom. Even though our technology is the best we have ever had and monitoring and forecasting storms is more accurate than ever, it fails to show us the true nature of the power of nature. AND IT SHOWS HOW INCREDIBLY WEAK AND HELPLESS WE ARE. We build to hurricane codes with steel and wood and concrete. We take great pride in our technology and architecture. We boast of our engineering skills. And with wind and water it is all taken away.
Storms, like Katrina, hit all over the world. We hear about storms like Hurricane Mitch, which struck Central America, back in 1999, killing thousands. Or Andrew, or Charley. We hear about Typhoons that strike Asia, killing thousands. We hear about monsoons, tornados, earthquakes, drought, volcano eruptions, tidal waves, killing thousands. And we witness the destruction over and over. We are asked to give. We are asked to help. We are asked to pray. We are asked to send and to go. Over and over and over. And we do. We do it out of concern. We do it out of love. We do it out of obligation. We do it because it is the right thing to do. We do it for a lot of reasons.
We do it because it is on the front page of the newspaper, the lead story on the 6:00 news. We do it because it is right there in front of us, to remind us, to keep us informed and in touch. And we respond. Many times we respond with such power and resources that it boggles our minds. It is amazing to see it in action. To watch as man responds to the call. Disasters and horrific events can bring out the best in man, and sometimes the worst.
But in almost every case bad things brings back the fact that we need God and we need Him in the worst way. Sometimes events forces people, and even an nation, to bow down and cry out to God for help in time of crisis and trouble. It is through events like this that we see how small and weak we really are and how much we need a God that is more powerful than nature itself. It is times like this that we must recognize that God is in control and that He is the provider for all that we have here on this earth. There are many stories in the Bible where nature falls into submission to Jesus and God. All of our strength, resources, wealth, and power comes from above. It is He that oversees it all. It is He that hears our cries for help and answers our prayers.
But soon it is second page news, and finally we don’t even hear about it anymore. We hear about hundreds dying in this place or that, and then in the next sentence we hear the final score of the baseball game or the player that is holding out for more money. What we do not hear or see is the weeks, months, or years of struggle that occur after a major disaster. The pain of rebuilding. The pain of trying to replace what has been taken away. We do not see the heartaches of people who lost everything only to realize that they will never get it back. The loss of family and friends, those things that can never be replaced.
And it happens year after year. Decade after decade. Century after century. Throughout history we have witnessed disasters strike over and over. Soon Katrina will become a part of history. It will become a record of a horrible storm that struck the United states in 2005. And sometime, down the road, people will read or hear about the event and it will mean as much to them as the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius does to us today. Just a story with some facts and figures with no feelings or emotions. But right now, this means a lot to us. It means everything to us. We are driven right now by feelings and emotions. And right now we will be judged by what we do and how we do it. We will be remembered for our actions and deeds. We will be forever remembered and JUDGED for what we do and do not do.
The world is watching, waiting to see how the country that prides itself as
being a leader in humanitarian causes, responds to our own needs. The world is watching to see what we do and how we do it. The world is watching to see if we really do walk the walk and talk the talk. An ungodly world is watching to see what a nation, founded on Christian principles, does when it is staring face to face with calamity and misfortune. And we will be judged. Christian organizations have been called to action, Christians have been summoned to answer the call. The church is being summoned to step up to the plate and carry out the instructions that were given by our Master and Commander, Jesus Christ. We MUST answer the call. We MUST do our part. We MUST be willing to do whatever needs to be done. Do not take this lightly, we are being called to do what we are obligated to do. Matthew 25 applies now, as much as ever. We must feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty. We must provide clothes and housing to those who need it. We must provide medical attention. We cannot fail. We cannot compromise. We cannot commit half way. It is all or nothing now. Wherever you are, mobilize your troops for action. Wherever you are, dig down deep and sacrifice for the good of those in need, for they are “the least of these my brethren” that Jesus refers to in Matthew 25.
Every congregation of the Lord’s church needs to respond, needs to help. Every Christian needs to do his or her part. There is no time to take sides, evaluate programs. We cannot be divided on issues or theologies now. For goodness sakes politics pale in importance here. Right now we need to be about saving lives and rebuilding homes. We need to be reuniting families and restoring a broken society. We need to be sharing the love of Jesus now, more than ever, to those who desperately need to hear it. God can be glorified in all things. Even bad things. Good can come out of bad. Good can triumph over evil. The world is watching, what are we going to show them? What are they going to remember?