13 March 2011

Thinking about disasters - "Don't be afraid!"

I don't know what you are thinking at the moment, but I know that my mind has been blown by all the disasters and wars that are going on in the world at the moment.

While I have been privileged not to have been directly affected by any of the recent disasters, they have affected my thoughts and emotions at times. In early January it was floods in South East Queensland, then there was Tropical Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland, then the Christchurch earthquake, and now the Japanese earthquake. Those are just the events that have struck close to home (the flash flooding was in my home town and surrounding areas that I travelled through often, I spent my late teens and early 20s in Brisbane and still have friends there, I grew up in Townsville, and I have missionary friends in Japan). I'm also aware of drought and civil unrest in Ethiopia (more missionary friends) and delayed rains in Uganda (another friend living there). On top of that, there's still war and civil unrest going on in many more places around the world that I won't mention, and finally there is the ongoing tension between Thailand and Cambodia over border issues.

As I consider all these matters, my heart and mind has been turning to Jesus words as recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. "When you hear about wars and stories of wars that are coming, don't be afraid. These things must happen before the end comes. Nations will fight against other nations, and kingdoms against other kingdoms. There will be earthquakes in different places, and there will be times when there is no food for people to eat. These are like the first pains when something new is about to be born." Mark 13:7-8 & Matthew 24:6-8. Jesus said these things would happen. I'm not prophesying that the end of the world as we know it is coming, but rather I want to draw your attention to Jesus' words in the middle of these passages. He said "Don't be afraid". I can imagine that it would be pretty hard not to be afraid when you see a 10m wall of water coming directly towards you faster than you can run, or when you feel the earth moving substantially beneath you, and it would definitely be hard not to be at least somewhat afraid if you lived in many of those areas where there is war and civil unrest, but that's what Jesus tells us. "Don't be afraid".

As we pray for those directly affected by these events, let's pray that those who belong to Jesus will have that peace that passes understanding. Let's pray that as others see that peace in them, they will want to know how they are able to be so calm/peaceful. Let's pray that God will be glorified as His children reach out to those around them who are also hurting. Let's pray that opportunities to share God's love will be recognised.

The other thing I am reminded of here is the possibility that the time when we can freely share God's love is passing very quickly. I pray that God will give me a sense of urgency when I have opportunities to share God's love and good news with those around me. I pray that God will give me the right words to say, and that I will say them at the right time and in the right way.

Thank you to those amazing and special "ordinary" people who are working in the rescue and recovery tasks. I pray that you will know God's enabling as you face very difficult tasks. I'm sure many would say they are "just doing their job", but they truly are heroes in every way. Thank you for all you do.

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