In the course of a month we’ve seen humanity at its worst and at its best.
A month ago we saw men lifting tiki torches high.
Two weeks ago we saw men reaching low lifting drowning bodies.
A month ago our news feeds consisted of brawls and bickering.
A week ago every news station shared stories of compassion and kindness.
The Worst of Times
Why does it seem that only in the worst of times do we see the best of ourselves? In the wake of disaster we gladly open up our front doors wide and willingly reach out. We get down on our knees, risk our lives, walk through dirty waters, send money, volunteer our time. Life demands it.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. But why do we wait to show we care until much is lost? Do we not care when life is good?
Global Warming? God’s Punishment?
The power of nature is both scary and fascinating. No manmade device can stop the wind, levees won’t hold the waters. We are at mother nature’s mercy.
Is it global warning? Is it God? Is it both?
I saw a headline last week claiming a famous Christian believed Hurricane Irma was God’s judgment upon America. It was probably click-bait and I didn’t bite. But I felt frustrated. I serve a God who has the power to stop the wind and rains, yet He didn’t.
Why didn’t He stop it?
Maybe for some it’s easier to believe God sends hurricanes to destroy what He doesn’t approve of rather than try to explain why He doesn’t stop what we know He can.
I don’t know why.
I believe God is good and I believe his heart breaks for those drowning and suffering significant loss. I believe God never leaves us nor forsakes us no matter how strong the winds blow or how deep and dirty the waters get.
Maybe God wants us to feel for each other what He feels for us. Maybe He doesn’t stop the wind because on the other side of it will come restoration.
Is this the only way we’ll finally lay down our torches, our pride, and reach out to the neighbor who looks different from us?
I think God cares a whole lot more about our restoration to each other than our electricity and belongings. Maybe He us to go through devastation so we will finally work together to build something new again.
When tragedy strikes we start giving of ourselves and turn our focus outwards. Skin color doesn’t matter, belief doesn’t matter, you rescue those who need rescuing. You give money, you give time. Your plans, your status, your position no longer matter.
The Best of Ourselves
While I sat dumbfounded over the devastation ripping through our nation this past month, I couldn’t help but feel more hopeful. I just hate it that hopefulness came at the expense of so much loss.
Is that the cost? We finally show the best of ourselves when there’s nothing left anymore?
Last week I watched celebrities from every genre and category of music, TV, and movies come together for the Hand in Hand telethon. Through it they raised $44 MILLION for the victims of the hurricanes. FORTY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS. A month ago that event was not on anyone’s calendar. But suddenly life demanded they be present and they mobilized everyone from George Clooney and George Straight to Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake. In one hour they helped move millions of people to give.
That’s insane. But it gives me hope.
It gives me hope that humanity is capable of so much more good than we even think is possible. It gives me hope that people who have been giving of themselves these last few weeks will discover a kind of compassion that won’t leave them the same.
I’ve loved watching the stories rolling in. Even in such horrible conditions, their hope is inspiring. Our own local church came together to give to one of our partner’s in Corpus Christi, TX. The video below is a story I came across that inspired me to write this post.
God, help us. Help us to look outward not only when the waters are rising, but also when the sun is shining.