Last night here in Nashville, tornadoes came through the downtown area and continued east. Nashvillians awoke to find themselves in a 200 mile path of destruction as storms moved west to east. One of the tornadoes came through downtown, just north of the LifeWay headquarters. At last report, 9 people are dead, and the death toll may climb as daylight breaks and more bodies are discovered.
Maybe it has been a while since something like this happened where you live. Perhaps you’ve dealt with flooding instead. Or maybe you live in an agrarian part of the country and your disaster is the destruction of crops because of drought. Even more close to home, maybe you know people who have suddenly lost a job or lost a loved one to cancer. We all deal with different kinds of disasters, but when life is disrupted on this scale, there are some things God’s people can and should do when disaster strikes:
- Pray fervently. There are lots of people to pray for during disasters. Pray for the victims, the families of the dead, and the first responders who must work double shifts in order to serve the community.
- Respond quickly. When disaster strikes, there is no time for delay. God’s people should mobilize quickly and meet needs. Acts 2:42-47 reminds me of what the church should look like when people have sudden needs – we pool resources and meet people’s financial and practical needs as best we can.
- Identify authentically. Scripture tells us to “grieve with those who grieve” (Romans 12:15). We must respond with empathy when disaster strikes – sometimes people just need a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen to them, and for someone to tell them, “I understand and feel your pain.”
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