“Sometimes it takes a natural disaster to reveal a social disaster.” ~ Jim Wallis
It was in grade school, third or fourth grade, I believe, that one of the Sisters said something to me that sunk into that ol’ brain of mine and made me think. I have kept it in mind and thought about it a lot throughout the years: “It is at our worst that we are at our best.” We have already seen a lot of devastation with a few hurricanes and wildfires that have ravaged different parts of our country and world.
In the midst of devastation, we often hear awful stories about people robbing one another, about wide-scale looting, about people who have had their rescue boats taken from under their feet, or about people who have sold their burned out properties at a great loss to people looking to profit from their tragedies. These stories reveal the very worst of our human nature. However, those stories have been countered by courageous and selfless stories as well. Many people have put themselves in jeopardy to help others. Some have even died responding to the needs of others.
Disasters bring out the worst in people. Many times, disasters have also reflected the worst in our own government’s planning. I think we can all remember Hurricane Katrina and the incredibly slow and haphazard response of FEMA and other emergency relief agencies. When natural disasters reveal “social disasters”, we need to do what we can to fix the problem so that the next disaster can be met with quickly and decisively.
Disasters bring out the best in people as well. In our own community, we went through horrible flooding fifteen years ago from the remnants of a hurricane. The people in our area helped one another clean out their destroyed homes so that they could try to return to some sort of normalcy. Disaster does not have to bring ruin. Disaster can bring others closer together. There are often bonds made in the midst of disaster that last through the years.
Unlike natural disasters, many of us go through personal disasters as well. We suffer the devastating loss of a spouse, child, parent, or friend. We suffer the loss of good health and struggle with crippling illness. We suffer from anxiety, depression, and a host of other mental or emotional illnesses. Our personal disasters sometimes bring out the worst in us. Our personal disasters can also bring out the best in us. How many times have we been inspired by the way someone courageously battled their illness?
God does not cause disaster but God is most definitely in the midst of each and every disaster in our lives. He is there to give us the help that we need. Count on that. Cling to Him. And pray that others may know His help and comfort as they face disasters of their own.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for all those still trying to recover from recent disasters. Pray, as well, for those who are facing crippling or life-threatening illnesses, that God may give them all the help that they need.