I had tears in my eyes when I saw this picture of trucks pulling boats lined up as far as the eye could see on the highway to Houston, intent on saving people they had never met, and likely would never see again. We have also been inspired by the stories of heroic rescues—-people with disparate lives coming together to snatch their neighbors from the torrents of water, or to dive into swirling whirlpools to save someone’s beloved pet or of mattress stores owners sending their semis out to brave the deep and inviting displaced people to sleep on the brand new mattresses in the showroom of the store.
It is heartening to see, in the midst of a world gone crazy! Four hurricanes have churned through, one after another: Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria have ripped through the Caribbean, Florida, Texas, southeastern US. and now Puerto Rico. The destruction is unimaginable. And Mexico is hit with two earthquakes, and over 200 are dead and the count is still rising. Our hearts break for the people who have lost loved ones, and for the families who have lost all their worldly goods.
What can we do? First of all, know that God is present with us in our trouble and people who care are working day and night to bring succor to those in need. Secondly, we can pray for those close and those far who are suffering. Third, we can give our gifts of money. Instead of sending goods, money is so much more effective in getting the help that is needed to the place it is needed. And fourth, though there are many things we can’t control about natural disasters, we can commit ourselves to taking better care of God’s creation, so we can ameliorate this kind of devastation. We can encourage better management of our coastlines and riverbeds, so that the natural barriers to floods, like marshes and wetlands can do their work. We can reduce our carbon footprint, and encourage others to do the same, since the rising global temperature is feeding the fury of the hurricanes. Finally, out of humility and desire to serve God in Christ, we can spend time asking God “What can I do?” “What can we do?” in response to all this. Is there something we need to learn? Can we open our hearts to new wisdom about how to live together for Christ and consequently, for and with each other?