Katrina and the compassion of Jesus.
I used to think I had already seen the most horrific images I'd ever see. A year in Russia, a beautiful but often dark and violent culture, was enough to think I'd seen the worst of human tragedy. Middle-aged women, bruised and swollen in the face would almost daily crawl onto Russia's public transportation, proceeded by the smell of aged vodka and sweat. You could tell they'd been beaten in the streets and were barely clinging to life. Tragic. I thought I'd seen the worst I'd ever see. Not so. Hurricane Katrina poured herself out onto the gulf coast last week. Now there are 10,000 feared dead. Families uprooted and seperated from eachother, their homes and prized posessions having floated away with years of memories. Humanity ignored as the dead are pushed aside in order to rescue the living. An entire city evacuated. "There's nothing left here" were the words of a city leader.
I've seen these images come across my TV and computer screen. I will not soon forget them. Knowing Jesus and how He cares for people, I'm reminded of a passage from Matthew 9, when Jesus looks upon a crowd in front of Him. It says when He saw them He "had compassion for them, because they were harrassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." He saw the people in their true state. They were spiritually helpless, desperate, clinging onto anything. And as I see what is happening in New Orleans and the surrounding areas, it hurts to see the suffering go on, the children wondering why they can't find their daddy. Desperate, harrassed, helpless people. Later, Jesus goes on to say, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest... learn from Me for I am gentle and lowly at heart, and you will find rest for your souls." May they draw themselves to Jesus and find true rest for their souls. May He comfort them through meeting their needs for food, water, shelter, a friend. Sure, we've given some already like most people probably at this point. But, I hope that I will soon find myself among the masses of those in need from all of this. Along with 40-50 students from our campus, we'll more than likely provide hands to help in the clean-up process of the Big Easy. Maybe we'll rebuild some homes that were in Katrina's way, some lives that were affected by her hand. It would be some privilege to be the arms of Jesus to them, helping to pick up the pieces. Until then, we pray for them to find rest. True rest.