LOVE IN ACTION
When a major disaster like Hurricane Michael hits, faith is a major part of how most people make sense of it. Research consistently demonstrates how the specific elements of a person’s faith, what they believe or don’t believe about God, make a big difference in how they react and move forward in times of suffering.
Imagine two neighbors who have both had trees crash through their roofs and damage their homes. The first neighbor reacts by assuming that God must be punishing them, that they did something to deserve this. They look out into the neighborhood at houses that didn’t have trees fall on them and assume that God must love them more. They begin to think through conversations they’ve had with unbelieving family members and wonder why they believe in God at all if something like this is going to happen.
The second neighbor, however, reacts by assuming that God must have protected them. No one is hurt and it could have been so much worse. They look out into the neighborhood and see the devastation, but also see that their neighbors are alright, and they thank God for his love and mercy. As they begin to talk to family and friends they rejoice over God’s grace.
Not surprisingly, studies tell us the second neighbor is at a significantly decreased risk for things like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and alcohol abuse. Studies have also indicated that one’s faith makes a significant difference in whether or not they grow from tragic experiences, or how they cope with a significant loss. In other words, what we believe really matters, especially when we’re hit by a hurricane.
For us, as a gospel, Jesus-centered people, this means we need to know for sure what we say we believe. We need to have a solid grasp of the gospel, and what it actually tells us about God and how he relates to the world. This isn’t just for our own benefit and how we might get through, but for how we can help and love others as well. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings us to God, and then sends us out to others.
We have a great opportunity to love others in Jesus’ name as they begin to recover from Hurricane Michael. This includes people within our church and beyond our church. You might consider bringing in supplies to the church for us to take and share with the devastated communities in our region. Or you might volunteer to use a chainsaw or help clean up peoples’ yards who can’t clean them themselves. We will be sending out disaster relief teams in the upcoming weeks to different parts of our state, and you might consider being a part of those trips. And no matter our ability to help or give, we can all pray for God to show his grace and glory to those who need to see it.
The gospel calls us to love others as God loves us. We’re not called to love a little bit, or as others love, but as God loves. God loves us with everything he is, by giving his everything for us. When we have experienced Christ’s love and love others with Christ’s love, people will see him through us, they will hear of him from us, and they might even be moved to follow him with us.
HOW CAN I HELP?
For a list of requested items and recommended groups and organizations providing support for the victims of the natural disasters, visit fbctlh.org/natural-disasters/.
Please note: We ARE NOT accepting clothing at this time.