My little granddaughter, Brinkley, was over for the evening and we were engaged in a game of Snap (rules being made up as we went along as usual) when my granddaughter, Bailey, called and told us to look outside. We ran out on the front porch and were treated to a magnificent lightening show over the range of hills several miles from us. It was close enough to have entertainment value but far enough away to not concern us greatly.
We watched for a few minutes but given that the temperature was over 100 degrees we soon tired of the activity and returned to our air conditioned living room. We had hardly gotten back into the game when we heard thunder that rocked house followed by the sound of high winds. With Brinkley clutching my hand, we stepped back outside. The first thing we noticed was our willow tree looking like it was about to topple over and a dust storm making it difficult to see anything else. The lights flickered, we lost power, it came back on and then we lost it again- not for long, but long enough to play a quick hand of Snap by candlelight which was great fun for Brinkley.
The storm lasted a couple of hours and then died out as fast as it had come. Other than a lot of debris in the front yard from the wind and a search for the garbage cans, we were left pretty much untouched.
However, on my way to work this morning I saw several downed trees. When I got to work and read the paper I found that two homes had burned about 15 miles away, the cause listed as lightening. About 70 miles away a 20 unit apartment complex burned, the fire also triggered by lightening.
I pondered how shallow my thoughts were once I realized there had been no damage to my home or my family. It’s easy to close yourself into your own little world and let the tragedies outside be nothing more than news stories – down the block, across town, across the nation, on the other side of the world. All the time I see the stories and I am embarrassed to say they don’t always cause me much concern. What a selfish way to live. Especially when you think about how easy it is to get involved just by offering a prayer for the situation.
So, here’s my challenge. When you are suffering from summer heat, offer a prayer for those who are suffering without air conditioning or without even a home. When you thank God forbeing spared damage from the storm, stop and pray for those who weren’t. Whenyou feel the grip of a little one’s frightened hand, pray for the child who has no one to comfort her. Just as we use everyday things to remind us of God’s goodness, use the same to remind us of the world’s harshness. Whatever you do, keep your heart soft and compassionate. That’s what Jesus did.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,” Phil 2:1-3