Don’t wait for times of disaster to lend a helping hand

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Rev. Leroy Cole

The tornados of April 27 have devastated towns and communities. The people who were affected by these storms will be changed for the rest of their lives. There are certain images that become fixed in our memories.

I had just gotten home and turned the television on the 5 o’clock news. The station joined a broadcast of an affiliate station.

They were broadcasting a live remote camera shot from Tuscaloosa. The news anchor began to give warning of this dangerous tornado. Within the next few hours, we heard of numerous places that had experienced devastation. The pictures and videos do not give you the real picture of how these places look and what the victims are experiencing. Many of you looked for ways you could help and sent donations to various areas. These donations were useful and thoughtful.

I have only been in three areas for a short period of time. What I saw and the people I talked with will be remembered for the rest of my life. When we are isolated from a situation, we really don’t associate with the event. We hear of events that occur every day and for the most part they have little effect on us. Disasters happen every day all over the world. It is hard for us to realize the magnitude of what does happen every day throughout the world.

We find that the hope and help needed is found in the scriptures of the Bible. One such place is Psalm 46. Let’s consider how God has revealed the hope and help that is available when we are hurt. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains are carried into the sea; though the waters roar and the mountains shake” (verses 1-3).

The word refuge means to flee to place of shelter. This teaches that when someone is experiencing any kind of disaster, God is more than a physical shelter. He can be their personal shelter. He can also be their strength. This teaches that they can rely on His ability in their weakness. This is not just physical weakness, but also emotional weakness.

A third teaching is that God is a present help in time of trouble. This phrase means that He is quick to give assistance. It literally means that He has proved Himself to be a help in the past therefore we can trust Him in the present. The word trouble means any affliction, distress or tribulation. If God is your refuge, strength, and help, you don’t have to fear. Of course, this does not mean that we are to be foolish and put ourselves in a place of danger.

While we are assured that we can depend on God, we are to use common sense to do our part to protect us from harm. If we could see from God’s perspective, we would see His continual protection. If it were not for His grace, mercy and longsuffering there would be severe disasters daily. This Psalm in verse 10 reminds us to “Be still and know that I am God.”

I have learned that we do not have to wait for a disaster, an affliction, trouble, or some distress to have the assurance that we can trust God and to be thankful for His daily presence and protection.