Last night I watched coverage of the storms in Oklahoma on CNN and as I heard of the numbers of those who had been killed, wounded, and estimates of those left homeless by the storms, I just stared at the TV and tried to imagine what it must feel like to be there in the middle of all of that, but I can’t. To have everything taken away in 10 minutes is incomprehensible for anyone who hasn’t experienced it.
My first thought was, “We have to help.” I think that’s a pretty natural reaction for a lot of people in this kind of situation. So how can we help?
1. Go to Oklahoma. Get your feet on the ground. Get your hands dirty. The thing about this is, one of the worst things you can do is just show up. They will be so flooded with volunteers that the efforts must be well coordinated or things get crazy, and as strange as it seems, you’ll just be in the way. So contact the Red Cross, FEMA, or some local organizations or churches and find out who you can get hooked up with to help. A simple Google search will give you plenty of options. In addition, World Vision, Teen Mission, and other organizations are well connected to local agencies in these situations. LifeChurch.tv is based in Oklahoma City, and they’re definitely be leading the charge on the recovery efforts as well. Hook up with a group and go.
But what if you can’t just get up and go to Oklahoma? There are still good ways to make a difference.
2. Donate to relief efforts. One great option is to donate through Brand New Church. Based in Arkansas, BNC is collecting throughout this week. On Friday, the money collected will be wired to LifeChurch, a local church in Oklahoma City, who will use it to aid victims and provide resources as they assist in the relief efforts. Download their app for iPhone, or just go to their website and click the banner on their main page. What better way to make a difference than to help local churches make a difference? You can also obviously donate through the Red Cross, either on their website, redcross.org, by phone, or simply by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999, which will donate $10 via your monthly cell phone bill. One other option is to donate to a campaign, like this one at HopeMob.
3. Pray. That’s all I have been able to do as I watch this unfold. James 5:16 says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Pray for the victims, pray for the families who are still searching for loves ones, pray for people who have lost it all and pray for the people who will be there to help them put it back together. God will hear you.
The important thing to remember is that when a storm like this causes this amount of devastation, what’s more important than the eye of the storm is the eye that’s ON the storm. God is in control. As hard and as cruel and as twisted as that might sound to some people in these times, it’s true. God can somehow bring good from this. I can’t imagine what that might be or how that would sound to people who have lost so much, but God can bring beauty from ashes.
Matthew 11:28 says, “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’” Carry the victims, survivors, and aid workers to Jesus and lay them at His feet.