Grove, Oklahoma, US
Via ASSIST News Service

“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality” - Romans 12:13 (NLT).

Hurricane Harvey Response

A HELPING HAND: Texas National Guard soldiers arrive in Houston to aid citizens in heavily flooded areas from the storms of Hurricane Harvey. PICTURE: Lt Zachary West , 100th MPAD, Texas Military Department/CC BY-ND 2.0

Newspaper photos, social media posts and live TV coverage depicted the devastation. Those viewing the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey could only imagine what the Texas victims were experiencing. For those of us who have experienced the aftermath of a hurricane, the reality is familiar.

However, anyone who has either viewed or experienced a disaster like this is familiar with the sacrifices of those who respond to the call for help. As responders poured into the southeastern Texas areas hardest hit, I marveled once again, not only at the sight of trained rescue workers, but the volunteers who leave their jobs, homes and family to provide assistance to those affected by the flooding.

Stories continue to reveal those moments when all hope seemed lost. Then, someone who refused to give up, showed up and answered the call for help.

I listened to TV coverage as victims and rescuers were interviewed. One man, a volunteer rescuer, paraphrased I John 3:17, which states, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”

Looking out for the needs of others is a constant theme and reminder for us throughout scripture. Philippians 2:4 says: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others.”

At times like these, I wonder why it takes a disaster to bring people of all races, religions and backgrounds together. Helping others was what Jesus did on a daily basis. He was never too busy or too tired to answer a cry for help, whether Jew or Gentile.

In the aftermath of this emergency, I’ve also been touched by the outpouring of love from children across the nation. Youngsters from as far north as Maine and as far south as Florida have raised thousands for the disaster relief through lemonade stands and bake sales.

We become the hands and feet of Jesus when we reach out to those in need. Well-known Bible teacher and author Beth Moore tweeted the following during the rescue efforts: “Right now in Houston, Texas the hands of Jesus have wet vacs and saws in them and the feet of Jesus are walking in water wearing rubber boots.”

St Teresa of Avila once wrote the following: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

Will you be the hands and feet of Jesus?

(As I wrote this column, Hurricane Irma was headed to Florida. Will we witness the hands and feet of Jesus in the aftermath?)