The horrific images of the catastrophic landscape Hurricane Harvey has left in its wake in Houston (Texas) and its surroundings, together with some tragic reports of personal stories, has left the rest of the world reeling in shock and with feelings of heartfelt sympathy for all the victims.
Nor is the U.S. the only country to have suffered from recent natural disasters – Nepal, northern India and Bangladesh have also been subjected to great loss of life, homes and livelihoods destroyed, owing to similar devastating forces of nature. Our friends in the Philippines can be added to the list of people who have suffered greatly the consequences of wild storms and tornadoes. Last year in Spain, no less than eleven brave firefighters were trapped by a raging forest fire and burnt to death. Earthquakes, wherever they occur, invariably leave many victims dead, wounded or horribly trapped, homes destroyed, and great grief among the survivors.
Even now with the advances in modern technology warning us beforehand of certain types of dangerous and destructive storms coming our way, giving us a little precious time to ‘batten down the hatches’, or to try to escape to safer latitudes if we are fortunate enough to have the means to do so, we still cannot control the forces of nature. It is something we all know: our worldly home on Planet Earth is unstable and exposed to the whims of nature.
But we have not been abandoned by God to these “whims of nature”. Our Blessed Lord, He Who calmed the wild wind and great waves of the storm at sea on Lake Galilee (Mark 4:35-41), tells us not to fear, to have faith, for not even a tiny sparrow falls that He does not see it. We are held in the “palm of His Hand”; He is watching over us. Our only real fear should be to fall out of grace by grave sin. Our true home is Heaven, and making sure we keep travelling forwards on that “narrow path” that will eventually lead us homewards calms all temporal fears for our and our loved ones’ physical safety. Nothing else matters.
PRAYER IN TIME OF NATURAL DISASTERS
Compassionate Lord, we pray for those who have been devastated by recent natural disasters. We remember those who have lost their lives so suddenly. We hold in our hearts the families forever changed by grief and loss. Bring them consolation and comfort. Surround them with our prayers for strength. Bless those who have survived and heal their memories of trauma and devastation. May they have the courage to face the long road of rebuilding ahead.
We ask your blessing on all those who have lost their homes, their
livelihoods, their security and their hope. Bless the work of relief
agencies and those providing emergency assistance. May their work be guided by the grace and strength that comes from You alone.
Help us to respond with generosity in prayer, in assistance, in aid to the best of our abilities. Keep our hearts focused on the needs of those affected, even after the crisis is over. We ask this in Jesus’ name,