Prayers, material aid needed for Oklahoma
By Linda Albert | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I have started and deleted the beginnings of this column several times. I’ve stared at the blank screen off and on for a little more than an hour. I’ve checked my email, checked Facebook, checked out the bathroom. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem to matter, because my mind and heart are filled with images from Oklahoma.
Several friends have family and friends living in the area hardest hit by the massive storm this week. Their anguish at the devastation was exceeded only by their relief in hearing, after long, tense hours, that their loved ones had survived. Then the realization came that others were not so fortunate ...
I have not watched a lot of the live coverage, neither have I read many of the news stories or looked at many of the photographs filed from Oklahoma. Like Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll think about that tomorrow. Maybe the strength to think about the children lost will come tomorrow. Maybe this almost insatiable urge will pass, the urge to grab up all my grandchildren, whether biological or adopted, and hide them in a bunker. Even then, I know natural disasters may strike. Even then, I would be as powerless to protect them as were the teachers, parents and other loving adults on a horrific day in May when angry storms left heartache in their aftermath.
Another storm began to brew shortly after the search and rescue began. Some people, some “Christians,” began saying the storms were God’s judgment on the little town of Moore, Okla. Rather than offering prayers for the survivors, rather than giving tangible support to meet the needs of food, water, shelter, clothing, they sit back on their Pharisaical heels and start pointing fingers. I don’t claim to have all the answers and I am certainly not speaking for the Almighty, but seriously? You would say this to hurting people? To people who are struggling to come to grips with the fact that their child, their parent, their friend, will not be coming home again? Or even if they are safe, that there is no place they can come home to? Do you not know that the judgment you pronounce can fall right back on your own heads in a heartbeat? What about the verse in 1 Corinthians 13: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” Measure your words by love and then people will know the true God you serve. See 1 John 4:7: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
Miracles have happened in Oklahoma. Survivors pulled from the rubble, families reunited after fearing the worst. A lady being interviewed on a television segment, whose beloved dog was found alive as she spoke. I haven’t watched these. I see the reports, get the gist, move on. Tomorrow ...
I did see a photo of a small black dog, seemingly unhurt, with eyes full of grief. Don’t tell me animals don’t know and have no feelings. ... A few words with the photo indicated that he was believed to be standing guard over the body of his human, buried under what had been their home, not wanting to leave his master ... Who would have thought a dog would have more compassion than the “Christians” mentioned above. Well, anyone who loves dogs or has been loved by a dog would know. Another photo showed a man, weeping, as he was reunited with his canine friend. I didn’t read that story, either.
As someone mentioned today, it’s a blessing to see the outpouring of aid from all over the country descend on Oklahoma. I knew as surely as I know my own name that several organizations were mobilizing even before the storm was over, including the Salvation Army (http://salvationarmyusa.org) , North American Mission Board’s Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (http://www.namb.net) and the American Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org) . If you want to learn more about these amazing groups, check the websites and prayerfully consider contributing financially to the relief efforts.
We may not be in a position to help financially or through physical presence at the scene of this national tragedy, but we can all pray for those who hurt and for those who are there to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs. May God bless each of them, now and in the days ahead.
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor and a staff writer for The Daily Times. Her column runs every Sunday in the Life section. You may contact her at 981-1168 or (email@example.com)