What We Can Learn From Disaster
Over the past few weeks, all eyes have been on the weather as we watched the devastation from Hurricane Harvey in Texas. We are now watching Houston as the clean-up and recovery begins and people try to piece their lives back together. We saw many acts of bravery and the human spirit rise over and over again as neighbor helping neighbor. In countless cases, complete strangers were reaching out to help those who couldn’t help themselves. There are numerous volunteers from all over the country gathering to help those in need of hope. As crazy as it sounds there is something special about what happens when disaster strikes. An outpouring of kindness, the ability to forget about what divides us, and a bond of friendship and love is born as a result of hardship. We see people uniting together and working towards the same goal because they choose to serve one another in love and the spirit of compassion.
We have all experienced the storms of life at some point. Whether it is a fire, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, or blizzards, they bring out the best of what is great about the human soul which raises our capacity to care about what happens to our fellow human beings. We see supplies being gathered, monies being raised and homes being cleaned and gutted by complete strangers who want to help their fellow man. During the height of the storm, we saw men and women take their own boats and risk their lives to help rescue others who were trapped by flood waters. At the end of it all, no one cared about their stuff; they were grateful to be alive.
We heard those words over and over again, “I am grateful to be alive.” My eyes filled with tears many times as I saw families being reunited and for those family members who were searching frantically for their family members, only to learn they had been lost in the flood. Now, begins the process of finding a new normal because nothing will be the same. As many struggle to fight their way back, others will leave never to return. Sometimes the pain is too much to bear to start over in the same area. Other times the financial burden of starting over is not feasible, and hard choices have to be made.
Why does it always take a catastrophic disaster in order for us to value what is important in our lives? We keep focusing on what is important for a little while until the new normal becomes normal then we slip back into a place of complacency.Complacency is a dangerous place to be because it makes us indifferent to the issues of other people's needs and gives us a false sense of security. Click To Tweet Complacency is a dangerous place to be because it makes us indifferent to the issues of other people’s needs and gives us a false sense of security. The fact is we all need each other. We all long for normalcy, there is no doubt about that, but how about we make loving our neighbor as ourselves a normal thing rather than a rare thing. How about instead of constantly feeling like we have to choose sides, we erase those lines and vow to fight FOR each other instead of against each other.
We only get one chance at this life, and there are generations looking to us to set the example of what it means to live in the “United” States of America. If we want change to happen, how about instead of making America great again, we make God great again. Our priorities are messed up. As a nation, we are a catastrophic disaster. We can’t allow our fears to cripple us, anger to rile us or hate to destroy us. Evilness is only allowed if we give in to our selfishness. We know what we are capable of when we work side by side with one another. Obstacles which seem impossible become possible to overcome. There IS strength in numbers, and there is no force like the human spirit. When disaster hits, we can either give up, give in, or stand together side by side to fight against those things which divide us. We each have a choice to make.
It is heartbreaking to see so many lives in disarray with people losing everything they own including loved ones. This week all eyes are on Florida as the most powerful hurricane to ever form in the Atlantic is aiming at the United States once again. There will always be natural disasters we have to deal with, but we do not have to choose the catastrophic disaster of allowing hate to overpower love. We can’t change our past, but God can change our present and future if we allow. No matter what storms we are facing, we don’t have to do it alone. We have God, and He has given us each other. Without God, we have plenty to fear, and with God, we have nothing to fear. Let’s be brave together!
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.