U.S. Disaster Relief
Southside Church is involved in serving with Samaritan's Purse through a few of their different ministries, including U.S. Disaster Relief.
Samaritan's Purse mobilizes staff and equipment and enlists thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to victims of tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters in the United States. We often stay behind after our initial response to rebuild or restore houses for needy families.
Times of tragedy can evoke a myriad of responses from people and sometimes we can feel helpless to aide those who are suffering. One way the Church can come to the aide of those touched by tragedy is through heartfelt, reverent prayer. We know that God desires for us to pray for one another in the church and that He hears the prayers of His saints. Thus, we know that prayer is an effective way to help the hurting. So how do we pray for those who have lost homes, property, or even loved-ones due to Hurricane Florence?
1. Pray in awe of God
It’s hard, as flood waters recede and destruction of the storm is fully realized, to have our first thoughts move toward an awe of God. We tend to hit our knees during the storms of life for relief and mercy from the tragedy looming in our minds. But one thing that overshadows the path of destruction of these storms is the power of the God behind this magnificent creation. While His creation was not made as an agent of destruction (Rom. 8:22-23), the power of these storms to upend our lives is profound. Witnessing the power of the storm, we stand in awe of God whose power as creator is much greater than that of His creation and even the chaos of the storm obeys his command (Mark 4:35-41). Our powerful God who called this creation into being with a word is the same God who is at work in the world around us and in our lives. He is a God who is deeply interested in the details of our lives and His creation and there is nothing that escapes His sovereign control – even the hurricane. Pray that the ones effected by the storm would be in awe of God not angry with Him. Pray that in their awe of God, their hearts would be strengthened (Eph. 3:16).
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God”
— Corrie Ten Boom
2. Pray with compassion
One thing is certain, hurricane Florence brought a flood of emotions to your heart. We feel scared when the epicenter appears as though its heading directly at our city, we feel relieved when it shifts slightly south, and then we feel guilty for feeling relived.! In the midst of our heart’s emotions how should we respond? We need to remember that just because your yard isn’t flooded, you should flip the channel. Scripture calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15). We should be a people quick to help and unafraid to hold the hand of the hurting. After all, we have the bigger picture.
Hebrews 6:18–19 assures us, “We who have fled for refuge have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” No matter what Florence brings, our peace is found in Him not in the relief of missing the storm’s epicenter. Let our hearts be filled compassion as we lift in prayer those effected by the storm.
3. Pray by faith with hope
During times of trouble in life we run to the Scripture and seek the Lord’s guidance. What did Christ do when faced with the floodwaters of tragedy in His own life? He prayed that it would pass from Him! “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will’” (Matt. 26:39).
Even though Christ knew what was ahead and the good it would bring, His flesh desired to be delivered. So Christ asked that God would find another way, but if not, by faith He would accept God’s will. We learn from Christ’s example that sit is acceptable to ask for deliverance from storms. We can also be confident that if the Lord chooses not to deliver us that we can still “receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:14-16). So we pray with faith during troubling times, faith that God not only hears us, understands us, and has compassion towards us but also faith that His will is what is best for us. So we pray by faith that God will be working in the aftermath of this storm. We pray that as the floodwaters recede people will cling to God as He sovereignly reveals Himself during troubled times. We pray by faith with hope that he will use us and those in the Church to bring the aide to those in need both spiritually and physically. This is the way we can carry His light into the world (2 Cor. 4:16-18
We are in the midst of organizing a few overnight & day trips to the coast of the Carolinas to help with disaster relief from Hurricane Florence.
If you are interested in learning about how you can get involved in a mission trip through Samaritan's Purse, contact Kevin Soderlund at 919-345-1438.