After blogging the other day about the Gofundme page we set up for my brother after the fire in CA, I had promised to come back and add a few thoughts. It’s taken a few days. It’s hard to know what to say.
Let’s face it. Disasters and tragedies happen often. All you have to do is look at the news in any town, anywhere and you will see the stories. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, fires, floods you name it. And those are just the “natural” disasters. It can be so overwhelming sometimes.
In these days where we see news from around the world in an instant we are bombarded with these kinds of stories. And though we may think they are awful and perhaps pray about them or donate to help, they don’t touch us personally. But when these things happen and affect our own life, or that of someone we love its a challenge to know how to handle it. Though this particular fire happened 3,000 miles away from me it feels so much closer. You’re more invested somehow. Still, It’s hard to know how to give support when you are so very far away.
I know that many people have experienced things such as this and worse in their own country or city. All can be equally devastating. My question is if we can’t even wrap our heads around these things from far away how can the people who are in them possibly handle it?
I looked up the latest stats on this fire last night. It’s now 60% contained. Almost 150,000 acres burned so far. Well over 12,000 structures destroyed. More than 70 confirmed deaths and over 1200 people still missing. Each of those numbers represents a person or a family that is affected. Not to mention all those first responder’s and those working tirelessly to fight the fire. Or those who are going through the ruins of homes looking for bodies. Those who are working to help feed and shelter those who lost their homes. The untold heartbreak and mental anguish of all involved is something that can’t be measured. Lives have been forever changed.
I especially think about the children. There is no good time to experience something like this. But at this time of year especially, how can a parent explain to their child that they have no home for the holidays. Perhaps no job or income. How can they think of Christmas presents when the more pressing need is day to day survival. And with no home where will these children be able to go to school?
We know we are so very blessed that my brother is alive and not among the missing. We are counting every blessing. We didn’t know where he was or if he was OK for many hours. We are so thankful that the Lord got him to safety. At one of the motels he stayed in, the neighbors around the motel chipped in and each cooked a different night for the folks who were staying there due to the fire. Each of these things is a blessing we count. It’s a blessing to know that he is not alone as he is going through this but has others around him who he can talk to. Perhaps he can help them when they are down as others have helped him.
It’s kind of a helpless feeling to know that we are not able to be there when the roads open and he goes back to see the devastation of the area, and the place where his home used to be. But we can pray. And be a listener and an encourage-er when possible. We can help in whatever ways we can. Mostly we can trust God that He will be with him through this most difficult time in his life.
““Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel; your Savior.