With the devastating global natural disasters this week, I wanted to re-post this Spiritual Sundays post from September of 2008. May we all keep the people of Japan and other earthquake and tsunami victims around the world in our hearts and in our prayers.
A woman in tears as she surveys the damage left by Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas.
I wrote recently on the topic of giving (see Give A Little Bit), and I would like to go back to that topic a bit today. I remember that about this time a few years ago after Hurricane Katrina had hit the Gulf Coast, I was really struggling with feelings of helplessness. I remember watching a woman who was in tears because her months-old baby needed formula and she had none to give him. I cried right along with her and desperately wished I could just go give her some, and take her and her baby and bring them home with me!
There was so much need there, so many people in desperate situations, and I felt like there was nothing I could do to help. At one point, I was so distraught that I went to my knees in prayer. I asked the Lord what I could possibly do to help these people. I knew that with 2 young ones myself I could not just pack up the car and drive myself down there like so many others were doing. I didn't have a lot of money to give. I prayed that I might know of a way that I, singular and small though I may be, could somehow help.
Heavenly Father touched my heart with an answer that filled me with comfort. His answer came four-fold:
1. Give what you can. Give as much as you can and your offering will be enough.
2. Just pray. Pray for those who are afflicted and I will hear your prayers and uplift them.
3. Learn. Learn from this terrible disaster and prepare yourself for the same. You never know when it could be you, and the best thing you can do is to be prepared.
4. Be grateful. Look around you and be grateful for your comfortable home, your health, and your safety. Quit complaining about meaningless troubles and express gratitude to God for your blessings, for there are many who are not as fortunate as you.
Now when I see disaster and tragedy I think of this counsel from Heavenly Father and I try to follow it. I donate to our church's Humanitarian Aid fund that goes to assist hurricane victims and other victims of natural disasters; I pray privately and with my family for those affected by terrible circumstances; I do my best to have sufficient supplies stored for my family and a plan in place in case of an emergency (see Water, Water, Everywhere); I try to curb my complaining and embrace feelings of gratitude, and express those feelings to those around me and to my Father in Heaven.
Perhaps there are many of you that can do more, and I encourage you to do so. But if you are like me and you feel helpless when confronted with scenes of suffering, I would ask you to go to your Heavenly Father and consult with Him that He might counsel you in His will for you. He is there to answer your prayers if only you ask.
In closing, I would like to say that I am truly grateful for all that I have; for my family, my home, and my beautiful life. The Lord has blessed me far more than I deserve, and I appreciate every bit of it! May He watch over all those who are in need of His care at this time, and may He be with them in their times of trial, to give them strength and comfort where others cannot. May they look to Him for guidance and relief, and may His Spirit be with them always.