In the midst of covering the Olympics and drama of the political season, there has been a very important story that the media has failed to give proper attention to. It is the story of the recent Louisiana floods. A couple of weeks ago much of southern Louisiana began to experience prolonged rainfall. This resulted in catastrophic floods. The Louisiana governor called the floods “historic and unprecedented.” He also declared a state of emergency.
This natural disaster is said to be the worst in the country since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Over 60,000 homes have been flooded. Hundreds of families have been displaced, with many being forced to stay in shelters. Since the start of school, nearly 265,000 children have been out of school (nearly 30% of the school-aged population in the state). At least 13 people have died. Also, since much of the area that flooded was not in “high flood risk areas,” the majority of homeowners affected did not have flood insurance.
This is indeed a terrible situation for the people of southern Louisiana. But the question is, how are we to properly respond to this tragedy?
- Be thankful. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves complaining all the time in life. We can be complaining about our job. We can be complaining about not having the biggest house or nicest car. We can be complaining about all we feel we are lacking in life. Instead of complaining, we need to be thankful. We need to be thankful that today we don’t have to worry about gutting our houses and casting our belongings to the side of the road. We need to be thankful that we haven’t been forced to separate from our families and live in shelters. We need to be thankful that our homes, cars, beds, and other valuable belongings weren’t recently destroyed because of flooding. We need to be thankful that we don’t have to start over in life. Many of the people in Louisiana lost everything they possessed. But today we get to be with our families in the comfort of our homes. This is indeed something to be thankful to God for (Colossians 4:2; Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).
- Pray. When you talk to God today, don’t get so absorbed in asking God to focus on your own personal needs that you forget the people suffering in Louisiana. Pray that God will help them rebuild their lives and restore much of what they have lost. Pray that God give them daily bread (Luke 11:3). Pray that God will comfort them. Pray that through this time of suffering their hearts will be drawn closer to God. Pray that they will lean on and be fully dependent on God. Today, make prayers and supplications on behalf of those in need (Philippians 4:6).
- Give. In fact, send a personal contribution if you can. Sending furniture and things like it will not do any good right now because these people have lost their homes. They have no place to store furniture at this time. What they do need is money for food and other immediate needs. Remember the words of Jesus in Acts 20:35.
- Stay focused. Unfortunately, floods such as these are the result of living in a world contaminated by sin. Disasters such as these remind us that this world is imperfect and is full of troubles. But thank God, because Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, that we can look forward to heaven (1 Peter 1:3-5! In heaven there will be no natural disasters, no floods, no death, no sorrow. Events such as this should lead us to developing the right perspective about life. They should lead us to desire heaven more than anything else because this world we live in now is full of troubles.
Disaster is something that can strike any of us anywhere and at any time. The danger of having to rebuild your life is always there. Let’s remember this as we seriously consider what we are able to do to help those suffering in Louisiana.
– Shawn Jeffries