First Response in Disasters

In my impatient and self-centered judgmental way of thinking I wrestle with why are things the way they are?  Why is there still prejudice and racial injustice?  We have 50% more than enough food to feed every person on earth and yet over a billion people go hungry each evening.  The very word slavery evokes highly negative emotions and yet 45 million men women and children are enslaved in sex trafficking daily.    Why isn’t God doing something about these issues?  What’s taking so long?

Recently I engaged in a training program called CERT.  Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, training is designed for civilians to help first responders during natural disasters.  Early on in our training the instructors warned us that during a disaster there is carnage, confusion, pain. We were briefed that there will be changing complex situations and a steady stream of situations needing attention.

In my counseling it was brought up that the human condition is a disaster and God is at work as a first responder.  That today we are living in a time of redemption and sanctification.  As God redeems us individually we then see others differently (2 Co 5;16) which translates to us doing something redeeming ourselves. We look out for the interest of others (Ph 2:4), care for the widow and orphan (Jm 1:27), give generously (Mt 7:12), or act in some helpful way because of our faith (Jm 2:17).

This helped me to see time differently.  That when measured towards eternity our time here on earth is miniscule.   God is redeeming us in the midst of the disaster of our lives.  Like a natural disaster that blows in causing havoc followed by teams of people quickly moving in to help, God is also “quickly” moving in to help us.  Even if it takes a lifetime of pain and suffering to get to redemption this is but a second when compared to eternity.

While it is difficult to watch and experience pain, even for a brief time, I now appreciate that God is moving and acting in our disasters to work towards our restoration for an eternal outcome.  And as changed people we will work towards his plan for humanity.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.     2 Peter 3:8-9

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