Peace Amidst Disasters

By Marjorie F. Eddington

Categories: Expressing God, Perseverance, Power of Prayer

When disasters hit—fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes—there is a great need for comfort, strength, courage, healing, restoration, direction, peace. People’s lives, families, homes, pets, livestock, etc., have been disrupted, overturned, or even lost.

How can we help, especially if we’re miles, countries, or continents away? Our first responders are there to rescue and help clear paths of safety. Many of us donate money, clothes, food, toys, time. Others go to the places and help restore and rebuild. There is much work to be done, and we are extremely grateful for all of those who give their time and effort to help comfort and rebuild.

We also have another responsibility, a privilege—to reach out in our thoughts, in our prayers, to touch the lives of those who have been affected. We need to declare God’s truths, hold to them with unwavering faith and trust, and expect our prayers to be answered. Our prayers help in unexpected and powerful ways we can’t predict. We cannot underestimate the power of Love-filled prayer.

How can we pray? What are God’s truths? How does God care?

God comforts:

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted...." (Is 66:13 NIV)

Those who have struggled or sorrowed will be comforted. It’s a definite proclamation. We can feel God’s loving arms surround us and rest assured in that Love. We can also express such mothering qualities and enfold and embrace those whose lives have been turned upside down, be it in our arms or in our hearts.

God strengthens and gives courage:

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Is 41:10 NLT)

When we feel exhausted, overwhelmed, unable to go forward, we can collapse, lean, even relax fully into God’s arms. God is indeed able to carry us through trials. As God gives us strength and holds us up above whatever floods may come—be they full of water or full of emotion—so, too, can we help encourage and strengthen others. We can obey the call: “Give strength to hands that are tired and to knees that tremble with weakness” (Is 35:3 GNT). We can “encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble” (NASB).

God heals:

“I am the LORD, who heals you.” (Ex 15:26 NIV)

That’s what God does—heals us! So when we want or need healing, we can turn straight to God, and we can expect healing and transformation. Focusing on the problems limits our expectations. Focusing on God lifts us up and out of the turmoil and gives us a new perspective. Then the healing begins, and we can help others experience healing, too. The psalmist assures us: “He heals the brokenhearted / And binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]” (Ps 147:3 AMP).

God restores:

“I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.” (Joel 2:25 KJV)

What a wonderful promise God gives: “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts...” (NLT), to the hurricanes, fire, earthquakes, etc. No matter how the disaster comes along, God restores, gives back, rebuilds lives. The end of the story of Job is heartening. God gives back to Job three times as much as Job had lost. No one wants to go through what Job experienced. But if we have a Job-like experience, such as a natural disaster, where we lose so much or we endure great loss, we can find the blessing. It’s hard to do, but it’s not impossible with faith: “Faith means being sure [the assurance; or the tangible reality; or the sure foundation] of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it [the conviction/assurance/evidence about things not seen] (Heb 11:1 EXB).

God gives peace:

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 CEV)

When disasters hit, we may feel as if our peace has been disrupted: we’re alone, stuck in fear and despair. Jesus reminds us all that peace from above is more powerful, more lasting, more real than anything the world has to offer. What the world can offer may be lost, but the peace that God gives lasts. And we all have the right to feel and experience that peace before, during, and after storms of any kind.

God directs:

In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success. (Prov 3:6 TLB)

God is guiding everyone involved each and every step of the way. Our prayers can help clear the “thought ways” so that everyone can hear, respond to, and obey God’s clear direction regarding how to rebuild effectively, how to comfort others, how to claim dignity, express joy, and experience peace. We can rejoice that God is indeed guiding and guarding us: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds” (Phil 4:7 CSB).