Devotional: 9 Ways to Help Natural Disaster Victims

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

imageLet me first say that I’m not an expert on overcoming things out of our control but in light of the natural disaster that happened here in Louisiana, I thought I would share a few thoughts.

It can feel devastating to some who have lost mementos of memories; pictures of great-great grandparents or baby clothes held onto for grandchildren. It can be hard to move past the effects, but it can be done over time.

There is one thing that may help to remember and that is: “there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9c HCSB) In the past, there have been floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and many other natural disasters. This means you are not alone. Someone has been in a similar situation. There are people around you who have a good idea of what you’re going through.

If you know someone who has been through a natural disaster and you want to help but don’t know how, here is a list to consider:

  1. Pray for them.
  2. Pray asking God what He wants you to do.
  3. Go through your closets; yours, your spouse’s, your children’s.
  4. imageIf you have the time and/or ability help clean up, move out, and/or build.
  5. Prepare meals to give away if that’s what you’re good at.
  6. Some churches and organizations put meals together either to be picked up or delivered. You can spend time helping with that.
  7. Care packages could be put together. You could do that on your own or with a group, organization, or church.
  8. Some churches and organizations collected school supplies, cleaning supplies, and bottled water. If you have the means, buy extra of these items to give away.
  9. If your time can’t be given to any of these endeavors, give a donation if you can.

As you can see there are quite a few things that can be done to help. These are only a few of the things that were done here in Louisiana. I have to admit that I’m proud of what I saw my community do. I heard several stories that went beyond the list above.

My favorite story comes from a friend of mine. She and her husband are barbers. Many of their clients are in the military. When the flood waters rose, the military was called as first responders. One of my friend’s customers was videoed rescuing a man by helicopter at the same time his own home was being flooded. He was not able to go check on it until he could be relieved from duty.

When the flood waters receded, my church sent out crews to help clean up homes. My friend put her customer’s name on the list but there were so many homes that it would be a while.
By the end of the week, my friend and her husband were going to help after work, but before the day was over his home was taken care of. Now for my favorite part: when a local bank found out that while he was rescuing others as  his own home flooded, they decided to go clean up his home for him. They did such a thorough job, too. They sanitized the baby’s high chair, cleaned and packed all the dishes, and washed and packed all the clothes.

There is something wonderful in the act of helping and receiving. Everyone benefits.

Lord, I understand that bad things happen beyond my control, but it’s sometimes just the way of things. I believe with all my heart that You don’t want these things to happen, but when they do You will protect me and not let more than I can handle happen.

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