Christians Act When Disaster Strikes

Christians Act When Disaster Strikes
What do we do when disaster hits? Do we thank God for our family’s safety and then sit and wait for the clean- up crews to arrive?

We see it often in the news – a natural disaster devastates a community. Recently, a small city near me was hit by a powerful summer storm. Straight line winds took down trees and with them went the power lines that serviced hundreds of neighborhoods. When the storm clouds cleared, city crews assessed the damage. Seventy-one thousand residents were without electricity. Lack of electricity seems to be more of an inconvenience than a deep concern. It happens, occasionally. People make do until the power is restored, lighting candles and finding the flashlights. However this power outage occurred when the temperatures hovered between 99 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The damage was so severe that several days later, thousands of residents were still waiting for relief. Conditions were becoming serious for anyone who was elderly, anyone with breathing problems or dependent on electrically powered medical equipment.

Some outrage was expressed in the community when the power company admitted that they couldn’t guarantee those with medical conditions priority placement on the list of electricity restored. The outrage is a good thing. It shows that citizens are concerned with the less fortunate. However, I think that it also shows that we, as a society, are increasingly dependent on the government to take care of our citizens. Have we lost sight of the Christian responsibility to help out in times of need? At least one family in this city has not:
The Smiths (not their real name) live in a neighborhood hit by the disaster. Since disasters are often unpredictable, their home was the only one in the area with electricity. They reached out immediately, checking on neighbors. Soon there were heavy duty electrical cords running from their house to the houses of several close neighbors. A family with an oxygen dependent member was moved into the spare room. The Smith’s freezer was packed with the food of neighbors to keep it from spoiling. The Smith family is prepared to continue to help until all their neighbors’ power is restored. They were able to help because they took action. They wouldn’t have known about the needs unless they had reached out to each neighbor. They took the first step instead of waiting for the city crews to arrive.

    We tend to live solitary lives, driving in and out of garages without ever noticing what is going on around us. Do you know the people in your neighborhood? Do you take for granted that others will check on their welfare? Take a look around.
  • Are there elderly couples or single mothers living there?
  • Are there handicapped residents? You may not see them out in the yard if they are not able to do yard work or to walk.
  • Is there someone struggling alone with a sudden illness?
  • Are there people in your neighborhood who need emotional support – just someone to talk to.
  • Are there elderly or handicapped who have difficulty getting to the grocery store? Could you drive them or pick up necessities for them while you shop?
  • Do your neighbors attend a church? Could you invite them to go with you?
  • Do your neighbors know Jesus?

Let’s not wait for another disaster. Christians are not meant to live solitary lives. We are to live in community. We are to reach out, not wait for someone else to come to the rescue.

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