Charlie's Encouraging Words (published August 2017)
We’ve been watching with concern as Hurricane Harvey ravages countless communities and cities in South Texas and now into Louisiana. News reports of heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding are unprecedented. Local, state and national government agencies and relief and faith based organizations are in full blown response.
Sitting thousands of miles away many of us feel helpless. We want to help in the name of Christ and extend compassion. What can we do? What can I do?
In a recent article, Ed Stetzer, a nationally recognized Christian leader offers practical ways to help with the current situation in Texas. As I read I was challenged to implement all his suggestions. I encourage you to consider joining Beverly and me in responding as God leads you. Here’s his suggestions with my adaptations.
Pray. As Christ-followers, our first inclination in times of struggle and strife should be to fix our eyes not on the disaster itself, but on the God who promises his steady presence throughout it. When we find ourselves slipping into dangerous patterns of worry on behalf of those in need, prayer is our best and surest remedy.
Get together with other believers (small groups) and pray for the safety of victims and their families. We can ask God to stop the storm and cause the floodwaters to recede. Allow the Lord to reorient our hearts and fill our minds with the truth of his promises. He is, after all, the One who can calm every storm, whether off the coast of Texas or in our very hearts.
Be well-informed. Even for those prayerfully engaging from a distance, it can be surprising how valuable knowledge of the situation and the victims’ specific needs can be. There is always a way to find out the specific needs of a situation. With all the communication available, it shouldn’t take long to research. Here’s a simple rule: Before trying to help, make sure you know who you’re helping and exactly what is needed. Be well informed.
Consider donating. Even if we can’t go, we can help relief workers and supplies get where they are most needed. In many cases, donations are just as effective as volunteer work. Before writing the check or mailing the cash, it is important to find reputable, well-established relief agencies that are on the ground at the site of the disaster and ready to work
You might check out Preemptive Love Coalition. PLC is one of the global missions we support. While they serve in the Middle East, they are also sending help to the Houston area. They indicate 100% of all PLC donations to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Work get applied to the pressing needs in Texas. PLC is also really good about sending back first hand reports. Go to www.preemptivelovecoaltion. Click on the link to “Hurricane Harvey.”
CCC partners with Samaritan’s Purse for Operation Christmas Child. But S P is also a well-respected global relief ministry. They are often among the first responders when a crisis hits. You can check out how they are helping in Texas. www.samaritanspurse.org Click on the Hurricane Harvey Relief.
There are many other worthy relief ministries and agencies where we can be involved as God leads. Again stay well-informed.
Keep trusting Jesus. Stetzer writes, “Matthew 8 is a powerful example of what we are called to do when disaster hits and we feel out of control. We look to Jesus, the One who, by speaking a word, can calm all storms. We focus on Him, knowing He is in control. We do that by praying.”
“Then we follow Him into the disaster as He guides us finding creative ways to help. Whatever He calls us to do, we can be sure of one thing: He isn’t calling us to do nothing. What we see on television and in the news affects us whether we live in Texas or not. When one suffers, all suffer, and this can be the time when the church shines the brightest.”
I was challenged by Stetzer’s words to be involved and was led to encourage you to consider helping as well as God leads.
Grace and Peace, Charlie