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How to Recover from a Natural Disaster

See what help God offers you…

Are you dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster or the sudden loss of a friend or relative? Will you find an answer from God as to why this happened? Probably not. And if someone tries to give you an answer, you should be skeptical of their explanation.

In these moments, in these situations, Why? does not seem to be a question that God answers. It might be because if he tried to explain, we wouldn't understand it anyway.

A question that God will answer however, is this. What is true of God? What can we rely on? Will it do us any good to go to him for help?

It may feel like nothing is bigger than what you have just experienced. But God is bigger. Despite its power, God is more powerful. While it came and went, God is and will always be there. What does God offer? Strength. Hope. Perspective. Comfort. He can give you the ability to face the next hour, the next day, and beyond.

Paul, one of Jesus' disciples, wrote this about the difficulty experienced in his life:

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed..."1 "For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts..."2

How does God do that? He does it much the same way a friend will put their arm around you and say something to you that gives you courage, that comforts you. God is capable of speaking to us, if we will go to him. We open his Word, the Bible, and he speaks to us on a very personal level.

But perhaps you don't feel completely comfortable going to God. You might be dealing with so many emotions, and you're still trying to sort out what part of your anger and frustration should be directed at God. Or maybe you just feel so lost that you're not sure God has noticed you, that he is aware of you.

Whatever your emotions, there is a reality that is unchanging. That God is there. Circumstances might cause you to wonder, but God cares about you. He is very aware of you, and aware of your needs and hurts. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

How can he give you rest? He can carry your burdens. He can shoulder your problems, because his strength is not exhausted.

He can give you direction, because he knows the future and can guide you through it. Jesus said, "…learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."3

God gently asks you to trust him. He holds out a hand to you, to carefully lift you, to restore your hope. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."4

There is nothing you need to bring to him. He asks us to come empty-handed, and that is exactly how you feel right now anyway. Nothing to promise to him. Nothing to offer him. And that's fine, because it is God offering you a new way to rebuild your life, not alone, but in relationship with him.

Maybe you have not lived in such a way that you think God would accept you. None of us, not a single person, has lived a holy life. Not according to God's standards. The Bible says that we all sin, we all fall short of God's glory and righteousness.

We don't earn God's acceptance, nor do we need to. Jesus brings us his acceptance, through his own suffering on the cross.

You are not alone in your suffering. The Bible says of Jesus that he was "a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." He knew hardships. He knew death.

When his best friend, Lazarus died, Jesus stood there and wept. When Jesus saw the crowds it says, "He had compassion on them for they were helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."

Jesus not only observed suffering, he experienced it. He, who performed miracles and raised the dead, healed the sick, made the lame walk and the blind see….he let them press thorns into his head, beat him, whip him, and nail him to a cross, where he carried our sin.

Enduring enormous suffering, Jesus paid for sin on our behalf. He died, but rose again, showing he has complete power over death. When Jesus said he came to give us eternal life, he showed that he owned eternal life and he offers it to us as a gift. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him...might have eternal life."5

No matter what your life has been like, no matter what little attention you may have given to God, he offers you complete forgiveness and a relationship with him. He offers to be your God and walk with you in this life, providing light in the darkness, strength and hope for the future.

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me, will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."6

Do you want your life to proceed with his light, with his guidance, with an awareness of his love for you? Then ask him into your life right now and begin the relationship with God that he intended for you to have.

Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him."7

Here is how you can go to him right now: "Jesus, I am feeling lost and you offer to be my shepherd. Forgive me for the sin in my life, the many times I have lived my way instead of yours. Not only am I coming to you now for help, but because for the rest of my life I desire to be in relationship with you. I want you to be my God and direct my life whatever way you choose. My desire is to know you better and honor you with my life. Come into my life right now. Thank you for accepting me and making me a child of yours. Amen."

Jesus said, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out."8

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Footnotes: (1) 2Corinthians 4:8,9 (2) 2Corinthians 4:6 (3) Matthew 11:28-30 (4) Psalms 34:18,19 (5) John 3:16 (6) John 8:12 (7) Revelation 3:20 (8) John 6:37

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