There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Luke 21:25
Really, I’m not a sensationalist, but when one of our staff directors walked into my office to share Luke 21:25 with me, I was amazed. Not only at what the verse said but at the numbers of the verses themselves. August 21 was the total solar eclipse of the sun, and Hurricane Harvey made landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas, on August 25. Coincidence? Thought provoking? “…signs in the sun, moon and starts…anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.”
But what else have we seen? We’ve watched as strangers launched their private boats, as neighbors went from door to door, as vehicles loaded with food and water and supplies all converged to touch those affected by Harvey. Did you see the caravan of university eighteen-wheelers headed to the coast filled with goods for evacuees? Did you see the line of buses that our schools sent to help relocate people? Our churches sent numbers of supplies and volunteers to help. In fact, there have been so many material donations that we’ve had to ask people to stop for the time being. We’ve run out of room to store all the gifts that have sent.
Crisis can sometimes be a wonderful thing when it brings out the good in us. And it should always bring out good in us if we’ve been practicing loving our neighbors long before the crisis occurred. Now we have Irma battering Florida and possibly the east coast. And there’s talk of Jose and others… There will be many opportunities for all of us to reach out—to go and help, to write a check, to pray. We’re hearing that it won’t be a sprint; we’re dealing with a marathon.
Will our citizens stick around for the long haul? More importantly, will we as Christians be around to help our neighbors until the healing is done? It’s easy to respond when the hype confronts us in every news broadcast and Tweet. But the long run will distinguish us in our commitment to loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
So far, we’ve all been proud of the way Texans have responded to the crisis on the coast. How long will it last? How long will we pray and give and volunteer? We’ve started out well. My mom had a hand-penned notice on her kitchen bulletin board that was a constant reminder from Watchman Nee, that wonderful Chinese saint, preacher, and Bible teacher: “Don’t fall to a lower level.” God has begun to stir our hearts to get out of ourselves. Let’s not get tired but keep at it and not fall back.
Father, we pray for all those affected at home and abroad by natural disasters. Help us to use the resources you’ve given us to minister to the healing of those who have lost so much. Thank you for this opportunity to bless the hurting. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.