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Disruption: The New Normal?

By August 30, 2017June 30th, 2020Natural Disasters, The Weekly

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” – G. K. Chesterton

“We don’t make it through tough times, we are made through tough times.” Tim Jackson

The review.

I am deeply moved by the courage and spirit of generosity among all my close friends and family in Houston as they weather the recent tragic storm and its after effects. May the Lord give you strength to run through the finish line as you work hard to repair all the damage that has been done. There is no greater opportunity in the life of a child of God than in the midst of tragedy to display the grandeur of the love of God. My comments in this addition are in no way meant to diminish the pain and the trials of those in Houston.

It is significant however, to look at what is happening across the world this week.

The past couple of weeks have been categorically huge when it comes to the whole matter of human suffering and loss. Let’s not miss the fact that all of the world matters to our Father.

How do we as Christians respond to the suffering of others when we ourselves are suffering? This is an important question as we move into our near future. “Disruptions” may be our new normal.

While Houston was being inundated and disrupted by water, the rest of the world watched….while being inundated and disrupted… by terrorists, bombs and yes, lots of water. Here is a cursory list of catastrophic events around the world which very recently have disrupted, by my estimates, over 50 million people. By disrupted I mean: left homeless, without electricity, without stable food and clean water supplies.

  1. Frankfurt– On Sept 3rd, around 70,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes because an 1,800 kg World War II bomb was discovered in the city. This was not such a big deal, but this disruption included me and my family, for a couple of days. It messed with my normal schedule.
  2. Sierra Leone– On August 14th, 1,000 people died. Thousands more were left with indefinite displacement and the spread of disease. A mudslide in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown killed about 500 people after heavy rains, with hundreds still missing. (Reuters)
  3. NepalIndiaBangladesh– Twelve hundred were reported dead with 41 million affected. Tens of thousands of houses, schools and hospitals have been destroyed as humanitarians prepare for more deaths, hunger and waterborne diseases. The worst floods in a decade struck Nepal, killing 150 people and destroying 90,000 homes. In India’s eastern state of Bihar, 17.1 million have been affected according to disaster management officials. In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, about 2.5 million have been affected. (Euronews)
  4. Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi– In this, the latest disaster zone, overnight floods killed at least a dozen people, (Reuters)
  5. Somalia and Ethiopia– Hundreds of thousands are starving and dependent on international aid for survival
  6. Niger– Widespread flooding has killed at least 40 people in Niger since the rainy season began in June, leaving thousands homeless, without cattle or crops.
  7. Guinea and Congo– Heavy rainfall sparked a landslide at a rubbish dump in Conakry, the capital of neighboring Guinea, last week, killing 10 people, while at least 200 people are thought to have died in another slide in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  8. Yemen– At least 18 people were killed in Yemen due to flooding caused by heavy rains, the government-run news agency Saba reported on Wednesday.
  9. Paris, France- Large sections were shut down for one day due to a terrorist threat at the Eiffel Tower.
  10. North Korean President, Kim Jong-Un launched a ballistic missile over the country of Japan sending tens of thousands scurrying for cover, disrupting the entire country for 48 hours.

The why.

Disrupt: to throw into disorder, to interrupt the normal order of things. Are disruptions becoming more frequent or are they getting worse in intensity naturally — or is the global communications system just better than before? Perhaps it does’t really matter. What does matter is how we as Christians respond to disruptions. Are we getting better at responding appropriately or are we becoming complacent?

  1. According to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, the number of flood and storm disasters has gone up 7.4% every year in recent decades, (Between 2000 and 2007, the growth was even faster, with an average annual rate of increase of 8.4%.) Of the total 197 million people affected by disasters in 2007, 164 million were affected by floods.
  2. In 2015, terrorist attacks occurred in almost 100 countries—up from 59 in 2013—according to the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database

I am going to just stop there with these two examples. The problem is that there is absolutely no consensus as to a solution to these increases. What seems clear to me to be happening is that global leadership has decided to minimize the risk rather than implement measures to overcome them. Many of us are coming to a place where we are willing to accept a certain amount of loss and disruption as long as it remains below a threshold of unacceptability. That threshold remains to be seen.

So what is the proper Christian response in a day of emerging disruptions, tragedies and catastrophes? How can I be responsible in a day when there is so much destruction, disorder and chaos? One of the first things which comes to my mind is Luke 12:48— “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”

The action.

What does the Bible teach us about how we can live out our faith in a chaos filled world? How do we as Christians respond to the suffering of others when we ourselves are suffering? How do we rise above the level of the pain and suffering to become rescuers and aides rather than victims like everyone else? The Bible teaches us how we can help and what we can do to overcome in the days of disruption ahead.

  1. Give from what God has given you, not from what he hasn’t! “But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene– walk!’” Acts 3:6 We are to give from what has been given to us; I believe sacrificially. Let me give you a challenge. See if you can out give God. My guess is you won’t, but it will be fun to try. Give.
  2. Be Prepared. 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” Nothing will ever replace preparedness for being able to be used by God to meet the needs of others. This is a day that we as christians must keep all in perspective. Much of what is happening was foretold.
  3. Be available. We can be willing to adjust our own schedules and plans to fit the desires of God and others. This often makes personal priorities secondary to others. As we reflect God’s priorities, we will always be available to Him, and others, whom we are serving. (Isaiah 6:8; Mark 1:17-18; Luke 16:10; Acts 16:10)
  4. Listen to God- “Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:6 Nothing can replace this. Listen to God. Through this discipline, you can become an overcomer.
  5. Learn to think beyond yourself. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;” Philippians 2:3 This is perhaps one of the most important, yet most difficult things we have to do as Christians and as humans. It runs counter to our humanness in every way. We must learn a lifestyle of giving ourselves away.

Resources.

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060038753/ Climate and Human Beings

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-innovations/prepare-yourself-natural-disasters-will-only-get-worse/2011/09/14/gIQAvRVPUK_story.html?utm_term=.0847297b911d

http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/treasure-god-magnify-christ-love-people

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/06/magazine/06wwln-idealab-t.html?mcubz=0

https://adjustersinternational.com/publications/disaster-recovery-today/be-ready-for-the-next-disaster-and-the-public-assistance-process/0/

Follow-up in Last weeks Sword bearing attacker at Buckingham Palace… http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/crime/2017/09/01/bangladeshi-born-british-citizen-charged-buckingham-palace-attack/

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