The “good side” to natural disasters

For all the chaos that natural disasters like earthquakes cause, we get a glimpse of something wonderful too – of people tearing at the rubble to free those trapped, of help pouring in from all over the world, and of deep compassion for those who’ve suffered.

It’s amazing how people who don’t normally mix together are suddenly willing to do anything to help each other. It’s as if we’ve been waiting for such a moment, the chance to step out of our selfish, closeted little worlds and become a community. Terrible though disasters are, they have a good side. They break down the barriers that separate us and we act like brothers and sisters. And we do it so naturally it’s as if we’re wired this way.

It is the way we’re wired, too. God designed us to be like himself so that one day we will be brothers and sisters in one huge happy family forever. That’s the plan, Romans 8:21, that out of this futility will come liberation, the freedom to be the family that God created us to be, not only in loving relationship as humans together, but in loving relationship with God as well.

And there’s real evidence of that verse being true because we see and feel a completely different spirit emerging when disasters strike and we’re given the chance to help each other. It’s wonderful to behold. It’s interesting to note, then, that Romans 8 also talks of a Spirit emerging in this age of ours that fits in exactly with our desire to help each other. It “testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children,” verse 16, which is very enlightening because isn’t that exactly how we treat each other in disasters, as fellow children of God and as equals in need? It’s a wonderful glimpse that God and his plan are real and he’s on the job making it happen, giving us good reason to hope that one day the whole world will be driven by love.

In disasters we can actually see it happening already. In the midst of heartache and futility we see our potential, not only in our own “spirit” but also the potential of our spirit combined with the Holy Spirit. And what a combination that is. To think that even with just our own spirit we’re out there in an instant after a disaster scrambling through the rubble to free the trapped, regardless of the cost to us – so imagine the power and love that all humanity could have, and will have, when inspired by God’s Spirit as well.

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