Disasters, Prayer, Hope
Dear New Covenant Family -
The horrific damage of Hurricane Harvey is hard to imagine. The death toll so far is around 70 precious lives. The hurricane caused severe flooding because it hovered once it hit dry land, dropping around 40-50 inches of rain in only one part in Texas. Scientists are calling it the “1-in-a-1,000-year flood.”
The heroic efforts to rescue people stranded and now volunteers stepping in to restore lives and homes are all very moving. During the worst part of the flooding neighbors, firefighters, police, National Guard, churches, and those from out-of-state rose up to the occasion to rescue families caught in homes, people stuck in cars, and much more.
And that’s not all…
This weekend Floridians are preparing for Hurricane Irma. Leaving at least 10 dead in the Caribbean; it currently remains a category 5 hurricane.
Dozens of wildfires are raging through the western United States. At least 80 large fires in 9 states are currently burning covering a territory of 2,200 square miles. Many homes and state parks are under threat. Thousands of people will be displaced
Lest we only have eyes on our country...the past few weeks flooding in South Asia (north India, Nepal, and Bangladesh) have displaced 200,000 people from their homes.
How can we respond?
“As Christ followers, our first inclination in times of struggle and strife should be to fix our eyes not on the disaster itself, but on the God who promises His steady presence throughout it. When we find ourselves slipping into dangerous patterns of worry on behalf of those in need, prayer is our best and surest remedy” (Ed Stetzer).
My suggestion is pray with others - before meals, in your small group, at church, with friends. We can pray for God to be glorified, for the gospel to shine bright, for the flood waters to recede, for families without flood insurance to find help, for homes not to be burned, and for churches to be first responders with hope and help.
In your praying reflect on the gospel. Only in the cross, the death of God’s only Son, do we truly connect disaster with hope. To quote one writer, the gospel stands as eternal proof that no matter how deep the waters get, even if they drown us--our condemnation has been taken by Christ and removed forever.
Here are just two reputable and well-established relief organizations. There are many other worthy organizations and local churches in TX and FL who are working very hard to assist families.
- Southern Baptist Disaster Relief: The relief arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the North American Mission Board is committed to being on the ground for all hurricane relief efforts. The group reports it has already served 60,000 displaced Texans and prepared thousands of hot meals, and offers a link for sending financial gifts through the North American Mission Board.
- Samaritan’s Purse: The Christian relief organization mobilizes thousands of volunteers. It offers a way to donate to the relief group’s efforts to assist families in conjunction with local churches.