Watching the news coverage last night before I went to bed, I could only stare in horror at the devastation that has come to the Gulf region. Imagine an entire town, the nation's 35th largest, declared "uninhabitable".
Hundreds of professionals have descended on the region, Texas has opened it's arms for the refugees of New Orleans and agencies from all over are ready to help. And there are countlee other communities that have been devastated as well.
So what can we do as we sit in our nice safe homes with power and water and food in the fridge?
Truly, these people need our prayers...and not just for help and the water to recede and safety but for God to restore their hope.
So many people lost absolutely everything to the floodwaters. They have no homes, no jobs, no hope. I was talking with Clint van Zandt yesterday and as we were talking about the problems with looting down in the region, he said "They need hope." How true. We might think they need more police, more national guard - but it is hope that is really needed. The Bible says that without a vision, people perish. And with everything gone people are left lost and aimless. He had a great suggestion, too. That the federal government hire all the displaced people to rebuild themselves. Help them have a real hope of a future there...as well as a paycheck.
The problem with prayer is that we'll start forgetting and what they will face will go on for many, many months. We need to keep praying as the shock of what has happened gives way to grief and anger.
Every bit will help. These are our friends and neighbors and the church is all about reaching out to those in need. Those who love the Lord should be the most generous. Since we are the church it is our responsibility to ask God what it is we are supposed to give...and then be faithful to give it. No matter what our age, no matter what our financial circumstances, we should help.
Where do you donate?
Most places you can do it right online or over the phone. Check out these places:
The Salvation Army
Their site says "A $100 donation to The Salvation Army will feed a family of four for two days, provide two cases of drinking water and one household clean-up kit, containing brooms, mops, buckets, and cleaning supplies."
Giving help to the body, soul and spirit.
The Red Cross
We've all heard of them and they are usually the first on the scene.
The Humane Society
From their site: Some people were forced to leave their pets behind. Others were never able to evacuate at all. Now, in Katrina’s aftermath, The HSUS's Disaster Animal Response Teams are primed to help the pets and other animals left behind in the region’s most devastated areas.
The God we serve is not to be trifled with. Events such as these should cause us to look up to God and remember all that we have to be thankful for. Bless God today for all your creature comforts, the food on your table, and a bed to sleep in - and mean it in a whole new way.
Lord, we do ask for your favor upon the people in the Gulf right now. We ask you to bring comfort to their hearts and that help would come swiftly. For those that are grieving Lord, be their Comforter. For those that are fearful, be their Strong Tower. For those that have lost their hope, make Your Presence known to them. Stir up the hearts of your people, Lord, to be prayerful and generous. Help this tragedy draw us together, and not split us apart. We ask for abundant wisdom to those in authority over the towns, electrical and water companies. Help them find the solutions they need and pour out Your grace as they set about the work of restoring these cities. Have mercy on them all O Lord, according to your unfailing love and may Your glory shine during this dark time.