Many communities have just experienced Hurricane Matthew, that left devastation in its path. Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, The Bahamas, Florida, South Carolina. Some homes have been flooded; some have been completely destroyed. A friend who lives in Haiti reports that not only have many people died, but also that some of the hardest hit communities are cut off from assistance. Matthew has wiped out crops, swept away farm animals, thereby leaving many already struggling people to figure out, once again, how to survive this latest inundation.
How many millions of prayers have been raised by and on behalf of the people affected by this megastorm?
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” ’ And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’ [from Luke 18]
Pray always. Don’t lose heart.
Shame on anyone who says that this parable indicates that those who suffered, or those who died, didn’t pray hard enough, often enough, faithfully enough.
This story isn’t about natural disaster, it’s about justice. And while injustice is a man-made problem, justice is a God-honoring solution brought about by both prayer and action.
For hurricane survivors, justice now comes in the form of prayer-answering relief, money, assistance, love—things that can engender actual hope. Even an unjust judge, who doesn’t take seriously his responsibility to bring justice to the people, will weaken in the face of unrelenting pressure. But God stands ready to dispense justice and to encourage it on the earth. It is our job to pray that God will mold our hearts and the hearts of those in power to act justly. We may need to make our voices heard so that the powerful will be compelled to bring justice. Those just actions will be aimed at healing lives, families, communities—wherever there is pain and suffering.
Hear the prayers of the hurting. Join your own prayers with theirs. Then reach out to bring justice and healing to those who are in trouble.
Pray always. Don’t lose heart. This is what faith leads us to do.
© 2016, Melissa Bane Sevier