Nature has dominated the headlines this week. Two major hurricanes in a matter of days: Harvey in Houston and now Irma. On the other side of the country, forest fires in Oregon are laying waste to some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen while other wildfires burn in other areas.
The devastation from these natural events is staggering.
Most tragic, of course, is the loss of human life. With Harvey, 70 people have lost their lives. That’s 70 families and groups of friends who are grieving their loved ones.
In addition to human life, there’s also the loss of homes, businesses, stores and restaurants, schools, churches, parks, and other community gathering places. Everything familiar.
My heart goes out to everyone affected by these disasters. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have your home destroyed, your life upended by wind or fire, your things carried off by floodwaters.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose everything.
At the same time, my heart is encouraged by those who are serving others. Those who are carrying each other’s burdens and doing what they can to lightening the load for someone else.
In the face of news reports with warnings to evacuate or photos of devastation, I just sit speechless. I don’t know what to say.
I don't know why these things happen.
But I do know what I can do: pray. I pray for those who are grieving their dear ones, their homes, their wedding photos, family mementos, children’s artwork. Their pets.
I pray for the responders, the rescuers, the heroes. For all the people who are reaching out in some way to offer aid and hands-on help.
And I give. Our family supports WorldVision so we give through them, but there are other worthy relief agencies hard at work in the devastated areas.
In the Bible, God says many times that he hears the prayers of those who love him. I know he does because I've experienced answered prayers.
In this time when my heart aches for those who have lost so much, it would be a privilege for me to pray for some of them by name.
So, if you or someone you love has been affected by the fires or the hurricanes, please leave their names in the comments below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will pray for them specifically. It's the least but also, by far, the best thing I can do.
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Photo courtesy of Hanna Bergblau | StockSnap