“We know that God is here with us and here for us, and God will help us put things back together again.” Those were the words shared with me by a friend who lived through the back-to-back hurricanes on St. Thomas Island. You’ve seen the photos of the Caribbean islands and Puerto Rico and Mexico and Florida and Texas. I spend my life working with words, and I cannot find the words to adequately describe the devastation we have witnessed in those areas over the last few weeks.
And yet, we continue to hear the stories – stories of courageous people risking so much to rescue others... stories of compassionate folks who had so little left for themselves but were willing to share that with others who had nothing at all... stories of individuals, organizations, and churches who stepped forward with monetary donations often times representing very real sacrifices on the parts of the givers (as you members of the Marble family have done and continue to do)... stories of volunteers who are mobilizing to go to the affected areas (again, like some of you from Marble are planning) to begin the hard labor of putting back together that which was broken. In the midst of the storms, we have seen visible evidence that God is with those people who suffer and struggle because God’s followers are stepping forward with gifts of love and service. “We know that God is here with us and here for us, and God will help us put things back together again.”
On NBC news this week, a woman in one of the fire-stricken areas of California teared up as she spoke of firefighters who parked a truck on her street. They told her to go to a safe place, but they also said: “We will stay here as long as humanly possible, and we will take every measure, even if risky, to save your home.” She said those public safety servants restored her faith in the inherent goodness of people in an age when we are increasingly programmed to be suspicious, negative, and angry.
When I look beyond DC and its too often regrettable state of affairs and assess the true landscape of our nation, I still see lots of goodness and generosity, lots of care and kindness. The headlines do not always (or usually) reflect the soul of our country and its citizens. I think we are still essentially a good people. Flawed and faulty? Of course. Humans always are. But willing to step forward, joining hearts and hands for people in need? Yes. We’ve seen that in the past weeks. And we continue to see it. And to keep from surrendering to societal despair, we need to keep seeing it. Likewise, others need to see it in us – especially those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus. If they can’t see His healing love in us, where else can they possibly look?
“We know that God is here with us and here for us, and God will help us put things back together again.” I was moved by his confident faith in face of the dire circumstances surrounding him. His faith, in fact, increased my own faith in God’s presence and power... a presence and power I see each time I observe God’s followers putting love into action.