All scripture is from the ESV translation unless otherwise noted.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
For those that haven’t heard, there was a fertilizer factory that exploded in West, Texas last week (the video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzDC3iKbTzY). Many people helped out simply because they felt badly for the victims, but I know that given my naturally wicked heart, I would have no desire to serve people who were suffering if I did not know Jesus. Perhaps I’d donate some clothes than I didn’t need anyways, but that’s about all the goodness I could muster up by my lonesome. When I met Jesus, though, all of that changed. Now my life is 100% about making his glory known, as the life of every person who says Jesus is their Lord should be. My roommate, his brother, and I drove to West on Saturday to serve people not in the name of humanitarian sympathy, but in the name of Jesus. We have been shown compassion, therefore we show compassion.
We had no idea what the needs would look like when we got there, so we just prepared to do a lot of physical labor. We hardly did any. All the blocks that were deeply effected were blocked off so we could not help there, but we heard that those affected were told to go to a Catholic center in the town to talk to insurance companies, receive counseling, etc., so we went there to help out in whatever way we could. Throughout the day we did a lot of minor tasks (directing parking, carrying food around, etc.) but we were able to talk to a couple victims and hear their story. The main reason I am writing this blog post is because I want to share with you the story of a lady whom we will call Sarah (for the sake of confidentially).
Sarah does not live very close to the fertilizer plant but she was with her son, his wife, and his 10-month-old baby at the park (shown above) because her son was playing basketball. They were in their car (about 500 feet from the plant), which was parked somewhere in the yellow area in the picture, and had been watching the plant (because it was on fire before the explosion) when it happened. She heard the loudest sound she had ever heard and everything went black. She looked around and there were people on the ground surrounded by blood, many of which were probably dead. The firefighters that had been outside the plant spraying down the fire were now nowhere to be seen. Their car was destroyed and there were parts of it scattered all around, yet somehow the four of them in the car had survived. When her son saw that everyone was still alive, he cried out, “God! You exist!” Sarah too was unable to credit their survival to anything but the existence and grace of God. I weep over the fact that this tragedy happened, but I want my fellow Christians to take heart that the Lord was glorified through this event. No one in Sarah’s family was a follower of Jesus, but now they cannot deny him because they have seen him perform a miracle in their life (which is yet a small thing for God (see 2 Samuel 7:18-19)). The disaster relief organization there is working to get them involved in a local church and I pray that they would come to saving faith in Jesus Christ (which, in fact, is far more than just a belief in the existence of a God or in the existence of Jesus of Nazareth as a person (see James 2:19)) if they have not already.
In the midst of chaos the sovereign Lord still works everything for his glory and is no less worthy of praise.
2 Samuel 7:18-19
18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? 19 And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God.
19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!