When disaster strikes we are most comforted by those who extend unto us the very love and help of God. Kind words are helpful, the promise to pray is cherished, but finding a way to “be there” for those who are hurting and remind them that God loves them and so do we is the best help of all.
This week I had occasion to be with a colleague from London who was bummed about the whole response to the Brexit/EU vote and controversy. When I asked what we could to do be helpful she said prayers for the people of the UK and for God’s heavy presence to remind them that they are not alone and that they are not divided as long as they cling to the reality that God is with them. A wise request. Turning our backs on others is a very hurtful action.
This week I was also touched by the images and storylines coming out of West Virginia with historic flooding and loss of life and property. Two great leaders in our church, Jim and Brett, quickly responded and helped us steer our congregation and community to a perfect place to respond, UMCOR. Every dollar given goes to the cause to help people, not to administrative costs. Great job you guys in helping us really be helpful.
A while back Susan Kim wrote an article in the Interpreter Magazine that listed the top four things not to do in terms of trying to be helpful in times of crisis:
1) Don’t jump in the car and drive there,
2) Don’t send all of your unwanted clothing,
3) Don’t forget that recovery takes months and sometimes years, and
4) Don’t neglect your own preparedness and disaster training.
That is really sound advice! What can you do? Listen to how UMCOR instructs us to respond. Flood bucket kits and donations to help with the immediate. The time and the season to go and rebuild will come, but must be coordinated with the people coordinating the response. You can also pray. Or send a note to a sister church in the area. Or remind your children that disasters happen each and every day around the world and we need to be prepared to share the love of God with those affected. Finally, you can join a disaster relief training event through UMCOR to be prepared when that day comes in your area. Thanks be to God for helping that actually helps the hurting in the name of Jesus!