Over the course of the past year or so, we have witnessed catastrophic earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, New Zealand and Japan. We have seen a tsunami suddenly kill thousands of people and cause turmoil and anxiety even unto this present hour due to the problems at a nuclear power plant in Japan. We have seen volcanoes erupt in Iceland and ice storms in places that rarely see them. Through it all, the United States of America was basically unscathed.
Over the past few weeks, the forces of nature have unleashed their fury upon the very heart of America. Through wildfires burning in Texas, flooding along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and the current incredible outbreak of tornadoes; there is no longer any feeling of invincibility in this land. As if the current situation were not bad enough, a very active hurricane season looms just ahead.
In due time, all the damage being done by all these natural disasters will act as a financial stimulus as people will find jobs rebuilding houses, businesses, churches and other facilities. But, in the short term, the current situation is too much for many to bear. Losing one’s home or business is a traumatic experience that leaves deep scars in someone’s hearts for years to come. Obviously there are many hurting people around right now.
The frustration people go through dealing with insurance companies, government agencies, financial institutions and employers is hard to understand unless a person has lived through a major disaster or worked with those who have. People can talk about “trusting God” all they want, but when your home is a pile of debris, your place of employment is demolished and your creditors want payments NOW; the pressure many times literally breaks people and demolishes families.
In 2006 I took a very long and difficult trip to Cameron, a little town on the coast of southwestern Louisiana, which had been utterly destroyed by hurricane Rita the previous year. The area was a ghost town as it had been literally forgotten due to most of the emphasis being placed on Katrina damage. As I trudged through the sand looking at the destruction I came upon a few very haggard people hanging around a white tent.
When I inquired as to what was going on, I was told of how there used to be a church ministry that brought food to that tent twice a week but had run out of resources and had to stop. My heart ached for these poor people who received no aid from FEMA, the Red Cross, Salvation Army or any other group except one lonely ministry who could no longer find the resources to get food to them.
I was not able to do much but the pictures I took of the people and their plight did make their way to some agencies which in due time were able to get some resources down there. The town had literally fallen through the cracks due to all the other needs.
As people attempt to put their lives back together in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Virginia; I pray that those of us unaffected by the current onslaught of floods and tornadoes remember those whose lives have been turned upside down.
These are very troubled and turbulent times and many of our brothers and sisters are hurting right now. If ever they needed a friend to lend them a hand or a shoulder to cry on it is NOW. If there was ever a time to redouble our prayers and “stand in the gap” it is NOW. If there was ever a time to intercede on behalf of those who are struggling to stay sane and alive, it is NOW. Truly this is a time to pray for and reach out to all those engaged in the worst battles of their lives.