Resilience After Devastating Loss: God at Work
Countless stories continue to emerge of self-sacrifice, kindness, and love in Texas
Humans are particularly resilient. We’ve made it through war, massive plagues, and natural disasters. Scientists and unbelievers would like to attribute this resilience to our innate and selfish instinct to survive.
Mankind certainly does have a strong survival instinct. But attributing resilience to simple instinct ignores the countless stories of heroes who help the forsaken. It doesn’t explain a man putting his life in harm’s way to save a complete stranger, or a group of people looking out for one another until rescue arrives.
Faith in God has no place for those who believe only in science. Faith and love instilled by God in our very beings, however, allows us to rise above devastation and heartbreak.
During easy times, many of us go about our days without much thought as to how faith and God affect our lives. It’s not until the hard times that we begin to realize the importance of faith — and how that faith drives us to act in selfless ways.
Throughout history, we see how religious men and women ceaselessly helped the victims of disease; missionaries refused to leave war-torn countries, and people volunteered during tragedies. The most powerful of these occur today in the aftermath of disaster.
The past year has been turbulent and divisive for America. Yet each day, Americans can be proud of their willingness to band together and help out when devastation hits. Even in the short time since Hurricane Harvey slammed Texas this past weekend, there are multiple reports of Good Samaritans and other Americans helping the downtrodden and remaining resilient.
One driver saved dozens of people from their flooded homes in southeast Houston. According to a local reporter, Sally MacDonald, who tweeted out the story, the driver did it simply because he thought it was the right thing to do. MacDonald also reported on a man who came to Sagemont — a flooded neighborhood in Houston — with his own boat and bottles of water. This Good Samaritan’s only mission was to help rescue more people trapped in the flooded area.
The hurricane was so catastrophic, even called unprecedented by the National Weather Service, that emergency management agencies were calling for citizens to assist in rescue efforts. First responders were so overwhelmed by the reported 50,000 calls to 911 that state and local government officials put out the call for volunteers. Texans responded immediately — driving their shallow-water boats through flooded areas to rescue stranded victims.
Help is coming from across state lines as well: People from Louisiana are helping with relief efforts and planning to deliver supplies.
Even the smallest of gestures show great kindness. Fox News caught a woman on camera giving a reporter some beer while covering the hurricane. It may not have been lifesaving — but such a seemingly small but thoughtful gesture speaks volumes.
Tragedy has a way of showing the innate goodness of people. One family stranded in Houston because of the storm couldn’t believe the goodness people were showing them during the hurricane.
“It has also been great to see locals and people around here … pulling out their boats and wading waist-deep into water, helping each other — so it is a good reminder that even though we sometimes feel like there is not much good left in humanity, sometimes these kind of events help us to remember and realize that there really are a lot of people out there who care and love each other,” Joseph Rahm told a local Nashville news station.
The Rahm family, originally from Nashville, had moved to Honduras for missionary work several years ago. They had been visiting family in Nashville and were on their way back home when they became stranded in Houston. Their faith has been strengthened by what they’ve witnessed.
Resilience is one of the greatest gifts given to mankind. Even amid great devastation, humans have the God-given ability to show compassion and fortitude. Despite differences in race and ethnicity, age and gender, faith and politics, strangers come together to help one another in times of distress. People who would ordinarily pass on the street or become annoyed put aside their differences — and help others through pain and suffering.
During such times of heartbreaking disaster, God shows His glory and love, reminding the world what true love and compassion look like. Extraordinary things happen during the worst of times and are a reminder of the greatest compassion and love the world will ever see: God’s becoming man and taking the suffering of the world onto His shoulders.
Jesus emptied Himself, taking the human form; he even accepted death on a cross. And for this, God raised Him high, and gave Him the name which is above all other names; so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:3-11).
Steffani Jacobs is a freelance writer based in the Twin Cities area. She has written about everything from military history and weaponry to theology and church doctrine.