You might not be wrong to not actually be head over heels smitten with the year that is 2020.
“How does anyone survive the three fold crisis that is a pandemic, that is economic, that is now catastrophic? ”
The most catastrophic pandemic in the last century has filled our graveyards and hospital wards with truckloads of our unexpected grief. Our schools are filling with unparalleled complications and unparalleled bravery.
The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression has left hundreds of thousands filling out job applications, filling the long lines to food banks, filling out desperate prayer cards. City streets are filled with the ache of systemic injustice and our raw, collective pain.
How does anyone survive the three fold crisis that is a pandemic, that is economic, that is now catastrophic?
Then came the roar of a monstrous hurricane descending on whole states in the south. Homes filled with rising water as families hung on to each other, and roads filled with trees and power lines and wreckage, and the electricity went out and the water systems were devastated and the heat just kept on rising and families wept for relief.
“It’s a love of Biblical proportions that can completely dwarf the bullyish dark of 2020. ”
“At times, it has felt biblical, as if a torrent of plagues has been unleashed all at once,” is what one national paper said.
They’re not wrong. That’s what 2020 can feel like:
In the face of what feels like a torrent of plagues, what can be real is love of biblical proportions.
And it’s a love of Biblical proportions that can completely dwarf the bullyish dark of 2020.
That’s what our girl, Jennie Finch, a gold-winning Olympian baseball pitcher who lives in the ravenous swath of Hurricane Laura, was doing, showing up at the obliterated homes of neighbours, to help with the overwhelming clean up that has to happen before even beginning to build, when she accidentally sliced up her hand on some salvage and ended up at ER to get stitches.
“I just left ER — and I can’t hold it any longer,” Jennie fights tears. “Everywhere you look there is devastation, cannot look anywhere and not see destruction, and pictures don’t do it justice, and we’ve been helping clean up and people whose homes are destroyed, they are saying to us, ‘Don’t have a sad face — it’s only stuff.’ ”
In the middle of the debacle of 2020, it’s possible to have a perspective of Biblical proportions.
It’s only a perspective of Biblical proportions that can cut our own problems down to proportion.
“Could be three weeks before we even have any power.” It’s 91 degrees today in sweltering humidity of Louisiana.
“It’s only a perspective of Biblical proportions that can cut our own problems down to proportion.”
“You hear ambulance sirens and you know they can’t get anyone to a hospital. There’s no water, so our hospitals have had to shut up down,” Jennie brushes back the tears with her bandaged hand that’s shown up for Olympic Games and is now showing up as the weeping love of Jesus.
“I’m sobbing and don’t even know why I am sobbing, because we still have a home and so many don’t even have a home.”
Trauma needs safe places for its own rain of tears or it spins into an internal hurricane of pain.
“Just left ER… and these nurses in ER, they’ve lost their homes, but they are in there helping others.” Jennie chokes it back.
The night the fury of Hurricane Laura hit, rain and 241 kph wind lashing along the coast of Louisiana, a huddle of nurses and a doctor didn’t sleep through the roar, trying to protect 19 brand new babies, some only weighing a pound or two, from the teeth of the raging storm.
“Trauma needs safe places for its own rain of tears or it spins into an internal hurricane of pain.”
To “protect our babies,” nurses rolled mamas and their newborns out into hallways, far from windows, and mattresses were pushed up against windows to absorb wind—shattering glass. Nurses and new mamas could feel the hospital literally quaking in the face of Hurricane Laura.
Nurses lost their homes to the violence of Laura that night. Nurses had no idea how their own families were weathering the storm. But those nurses had a love of Biblical proportions to show up for humans of the tiniest proportions.
“Yeah, just leaving the ER, and they are like angels in there,” Jennie’s bravely trying to pull it together. “A girl’s in there right now, going to have a baby, and when you don’t have a home to go back to and – because of the pandemic — your family can’t even be with you…” Another surge of grief swamps this strong woman.
“We were already hurting before, with COVID — and now it’s going to be such a long, long road back. Everywhere you look, people are helping each other. And more people are coming to help — because we need help. Local organizations in our community aren’t even able to help because they’ve been crushed.”
With more than 350,000 people still without power along the Gulf Coast, gaining access to basic necessities is proving to be more and more difficult for thousands of people impacted by Hurricane Laura.
“The only possible explanation of humanity selflessly giving, is a selfless God who so loved the world that He gave.“
Some reports say it could take weeks — maybe even a month — for power to be restored. That means closed stores and an almost impossible set of circumstances for individuals and families who need food, ice, and hygiene supplies.
Over the weekend, the ministry that is Convoy of Hope distributed relief supplies to more than 1,500 families impacted by Hurricane Laura.
Convoy of Hope is distributing food, water, cleanup supplies, tarps, ice, baby kits, and hygiene kits through a drive-thru distribution in Lake Charles, Louisiana. We’ve also set up a point of distribution in Monroe, Louisiana, where a drive-thru distribution started yesterday.
On top of widespread power outages, that has left more that 350,000 people without power in stifling heat, the Louisiana Department of Health estimates that more than 200,000 people are without water. Convoy has already committed more than 20 tractor trailer truckloads of water to the area.
“When the people of God give selflessly, it gives people pause to believe there is a good God.”
Convoy of Hope is committed to serving disaster survivors for several weeks, and already beginning this week, Convoy of Hope’s distributing supplies to partners and churches in the surrounding communities.
“God will see us through,” Jennie takes a deep breath, “You can already see Him move by people being so selfless.”
When the people of God move, Hope moves in Biblical proportions.
And this is what has to happen, in the middle of a hurricane, that’s in the middle of an economic crisis, that’s in the middle of a global pandemic:
When the people of God are moved to Show Up Now, when the people of God make themselves into gift, when the people of God let nothing stop them from living given, this supernatural reality shakes a watching world awake:
The only possible explanation of humanity selflessly giving, is a selfless God who so loved the world that He gave.
When the people of God Show Up Now and give with no secondary motives, the world has motive to believe in the primacy of God.
“It is paramount that people of God are moved to lives of altruism — because this moves the world from atheism.“
When the people of God give selflessly, it gives people pause to believe there is a good God.
When the people of God make priorities, choices, votes, vocation and the entirety of their lives into a gift for others — others experience the gift of knowing the heart of Christ.
It is paramount that people of God are moved to lives of altruism — because this moves the world from atheism.
It is paramount that the people of God are the ones that Show up Now in Biblical proportions because the compelling truth is:
Altruism undermines atheism.
“Please pray — and if you can, give?” It’s this double—medal Olympian’s birthday, the 3rd of September, and Jennie’s at her church today with her stitched up hand, handing out lunches to the battle-weary but determined Louisianans who are pulling together to rise again.
“And the first responders, the medical teams,” our Jennie smiles though tears, “— so many being the hands and feet of Jesus.”
“When the people of God reach out as the hands of Jesus, God heals more of the world’s outrage.”
When the people of God reach out as the hands of Jesus, God heals more of the world’s outrage.
Last last night, Jennie sends me a picture of what she found as she was cleaning up a mess of debris in what’s left of her Papaw’s garage.
“A nest —— under folded hands.”
And I bow my head.
Not one of us may be head over heels for the year that’s ended up being 2020. The grief and loss and heartbreak has felt biblical.
But in the people of God showing up now in Biblical proportions, the whole hurting world feel enfolded in the hands of Jesus, nested in a certain coming hope.
$10 = Personal Hygiene Kit: Hand towel, regular size toothpaste, toothbrush hair comb, bar of soap stick of deodorant, 3 oz shampoo bottle.
$10 = Baby Care Kit: 1 plastic bath toy, 24 count size two or 5 diapers, 10 oz baby shampoo, 1 baby washcloth, 100 count baby wipes, 5 oz diaper cream, 10 oz baby lotion.
$25 = Family Hygiene Kit: 2 bars of soap, 2 travel size shampoo, 40-80 count box assorted band aids, 4 toothbrushes, 2 hand towels, 1 regular size toothpaste, 32 count pack of wet wipes, 2 regular size deodorants, 6 sanitary napkins, nail clippers, 2 pocket size tissue packs, 1 hair comb, 2 disposable razors.
$50 = Clean up Buckets: 5 gallon bucket with lid, 16.5 oz disinfectant dish soap, roll of paper towels, 75 count disinfectant wipes, 5 N95 face Masks(or like product due to shortages), 6 Sponges, 4 scouring Pads, 2 pair Nitrile work gloves, 6 individual reusable cleaning wipes, 2 scrub brushes, 25 count roll of 45 gallon 3 mil trash bags, 24 oz all purpose cleaner, 2 bottles of 16 oz bleach or 1 32oz bottle.
Some cities have had their water systems completely compromised or destroyed by Hurricane Laura.
Due to generous corporate partners Convoy of Hope is able to get whole semi—truck loads of water down to the disaster zone relatively inexpensively.