Something happened here on earth this last week, pretty far from where I live, but pretty close at the same time. I’m confident you’re aware of it too. Lord, many of my brothers and sisters are suffering in the gulf states as their belongings, families, and lives are being stripped away by an “act of God”. I read the newspaper stories, and watch the documentaries on TV, and it’s hard to see the hope for these people. Their whole lives have been washed away by the waters. The land is drowned and dirty, bodies are being pushed aside by the barely living, parents are losing children, children are losing parents. Evil is lurking around every corner, smelling the air for fear and desperation, just like a dog that hunts for its next meal. The law is gone, the help and aid are not nearly enough, and the suffering are crying out to anything that can save them. I read of their misgivings, and I know that they need you to fill their voids, and that I have never truly suffered.
Lord, I have been taught many things as a Christian. The first is that you give, and you take away. All we have is yours to begin with. And as a Christian, I strive to live this way, though I have not been fully successful. And if I were to stand back and look at this as if reading a book, I could say these words with belief, and feel peace with just that. But upon closer look I see that these are regular people like myself who started out with even less than I have. And now they have nothing. Nothing.
Lord, I understand the purpose of suffering. I know that suffering allows us to be more open for you. Souls are saved when they suffer. Lost sheep find their way home. But why must it be so horrendous? Why must little children become orphans, even see their parents die with their once innocent eyes? Why must the elderly and weak be beaten by this act of You? And why must they lose everything, and be without aid for days, wondering if they’ll die in conditions that are barely liveable anyway? Why must they wade through waters of bodies, oil, trash, and waste? Does it really need to be so shocking and dismally bleak to save those who survived?
Jesus, I am not blind. I do see the miracles at work. Despite the frustrations at how this was handled as a whole, I see people who could be unnafected by this leaving their comfortable lives to help a brother or sister they’ve never met in conditions that nobody wishes upon themselves. I know that more praying is going on down south than has been doen in a long time. I read the stories of would-be rebellers being employed by the law to save lives and help others. I see bonds being formed by people who never would have made eye contact before. I see countries dipping into their already small funds to donate money to this cause, regardless of their relationship with us. Even Cuba, Lord! This is something miraculous in itself! I hear of people opening up their homes for a family or two, wanting to be a part of relieving these people’s suffering.
But Lord, even knowing all this, and knowing you have a plan, my stubborness still wants to question you. Why did thousands of people have to die? How did the evil grow so much that men are raping the women who are suffering beside them, and people are shooting down helicopters carrying food? Why are we not helping more, contributing even more effort than we put in a war and “rebuilding” across the world? How can I live in a comfortable house, a comfortable bed, with a full belly, and a sense of security when there are still people out there who are alive and alone, cold and damp, desolate and empty with their last bit of hope running out?
Lord, I know I can never understand the ways of this world. But my frustration grows as I see us children of God destroying the world you created for us. I am frustrated that I see the apocolypse happening, as it has been for the last century or more, and still don’t see where you will end it. There are so-called Christians claiming this is an act of anger about sin from you, or preventative measures for a gay celebration that would have taken place. Lord, I know you love us all regardless of who we are and who we love. I know that you do not strike out at us, but instead love us. I feel overwhelmed knowing that we can still make an even bigger mess of this life you’ve lovingly given us, and make all actions of the world a sign of our ideas placed on you. And I wish you would just come now, and end this life of suffering so that we can live without fear, hunger, depression, sin, human judgment and condemnation, or any other earthly things, for we will be with you and in your presence.
And I am frustrated that in a crisis like this I feel so helpless. I cry when I read the stories. I feel for those that are suffering and losing loved ones. But I am limited in how I can help. And I don’t know what it is I can do, besides donating money and supplies, to help my brothers and sisters who are in so much need.
But Lord, you see the devestation. And though I have confusion over your purposes for allowing such devestation and destruction to take place, I am pretty sure you mourn with the rest of us over the inevitable pain it has caused.
I have no requests of you, Jesus. You must know what you’re doing. I can’t see something this traumatic happening without something big coming out of it. Is this just another blow that will leave us gasping for breath? Is this really our wake up call to knock off our American self-righteous crap and seek out peace? Will we ever see what your purpose is, or will that wait until later?
Until then, I am still your mostly faithful servant,
Donate locally at:
~Sonoma County Red Cross. Specify National Disaster Relief Fund in “Notes.” Due to extremely heavy web traffic, this site may not always be accessible.
~Hope’s Mission Outreach: Hurricane relief
-Online national: Donate to American Red Cross at Red Cross
MORE ORGANIZATIONS (click on links or call phone number if provided)
Charity Navigator: information on various charities and ways to donate to the relief effort.
Episcopal Relief & Development: (800) 334-7626
United Methodist Committee on Relief: (800) 554-8583
Salvation Army: (800) SAL-ARMY
Catholic Charities: (800) 919-9338
NATIONAL VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS
Operation Blessing: (800) 436-6348
America’s Second Harvest: (800) 344-8070
Adventist Community Services: (800) 381-7171
Christian Disaster Response: (941) 956-5183 or (941) 551-9554
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee: (800) 848-5818
Church World Service: (800) 297-1516
Lutheran Disaster Response: (800) 638-3522
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: (800) 872-3283
Southern Baptist Convention – Disaster Relief: (800) 462-8657, ext. 6440