As the tragedy continues to unfold in the South, it’s important to remember that the individuals affected need far more than a safe boat ride away from their submerged home. Most—if not all—of their things will be destroyed. Their houses, their clothing, their blankets and pillows, their toothbrushes and most everything else we take for granted on a daily basis—much of it will be gone. And what can we do?
Step One: Pray
When tragedy strikes, it can often leave us feeling helpless. Tragedy can seem so big, and we can seem so small—so unable to affect any change. We think and feel (and maybe even say) that all we can do is pray. The truth is that prayer is our most powerful resource. If “all” you can do is pray, that’s an awfully big something. In the book of Revelation, the prayers of the saints (that’s you and me, actually… scary, huh?) rise to the throne of God like incense and are kept in golden bowls to be poured out in worship before God. I don’t have any golden bowls, but if I did, I would only use it for the most precious occasions. If our prayers are held so precious in Heaven, have we any reason to treat them as casual, ineffectual rote?
Step Two: Give
The internet right now is overwhelmed with different groups collecting funds for the victims of Harvey. Whether your budget allows one dollar or ten thousand, open your heart to those in devastating need today. There is no amount too small. Remember that. Here are several places you can donate:
Google is doubling contributions made through the google homepage. Those monies are being donated to the American Red Cross.
The American Red Cross
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
Step Three: Give Again
If you’re able to connect with an organization that is collecting items like blankets, toothbrushes, and other basic necessities, I urge you to give (not your own toothbrush, mind you—buy something new to give away). I also urge you to share that information with myself and with your friends and family. I feel strongly about supporting people in prayer and in financial giving, but I also love to give tangible items if there’s an appropriate way to do so.
Step Four: Volunteer
I know that at least two of the organizations I linked above are accepting individuals who want to volunteer their time or efforts to help those in the South. If you can take a week off of work to get into the nitty gritty and serve down South, do it. Give me a heads-up if you’re going to do this. I want to support you in any way I’m able.
Step Five: Pray Again
Because if we’re honest about it, after the immediate needs of the victims are met, the single most important task will be caring for the spirits and emotions of these individuals—a course that will be overshadowed by clean up and rebuilding. Nobody gets out of trauma unscathed.
Remember—we’re in this together, America. Today, it is our brothers and sisters in the South. Tomorrow, it could be you and me. Do what you can. Be involved. Love your neighbor.