It is never easy to respond to a disaster. The natural response is some kind of variation on “why me”! The next phase that follows is, “who is to blame”? Big disasters and small, natural, made by man, and artificial all mix in an unholy soup of pain, anguish, and fear. Hurricanes, tornados, and cyclones are on one part of the scale. Betrayal, broken trust, and exploitation are on another. I have yet to find anyone who is ready for what will almost certainly happen at some point in life. At the same time, the certainty of it all brings a nagging level of fear that always seems to be an uninvited guest in our lives.
During the past few weeks, the pictures and images of individuals known and unknown in my life that are in the middle of a disaster battle continue to flood my soul. I wish I had answers as to why. I wish I knew the answer to the blame question. I have neither. I do know two things. First, disasters touch those deserving as well as the innocent. Children are often the first to suffer. The innocent find themselves in the crosshairs as easily and quickly as those who are responsible. Second, the question is never about blame, as compelling as this is. The real question is simple this; what do we do now?
The candid, sometimes seen as harsh assessment, finds itself echoing in a rhetorical question; “Can plunder be retrieved from a giant, prisoners of war gotten back from a tyrant?” (Isaiah 49.24)
The unseen question is at the heart of this moment in your life and mine. What will we do in the moment we hold in our hands, with our feet, and available to our hearts. Will we respond, engaging with compassionate mercy? Will we ignore the pain and anguish? What does real action look like?
There are many ways to respond. I hear God’s voice calling us to let the Spirit of Hope guide. It is in listening and being that we find our greatest potential.
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