Tragedy, suffering, loss and pain, are a part of the journey of life that we all experience. It is not an uncommon path. Yet each experience is different and unique to the persons living through those tragedies, sufferings, losses and enduring the pain that life often inflicts upon them. In the face of the tragic loss that we witness others going through, we often feel helpless and feel compelled to find ways to respond. We just want to do something. Jesus encountered a man one day and here is what happened.
"As Jesus came to Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting beside the road begging. When the man heard the crowd passing by, he asked what was happening. They told him, "Jesus the Nazarene is passing by." Those leading the procession scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, "Son of David, show me mercy." Jesus stopped and called for the man to be brought to him. When he was present Jesus asked, "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, I want to see." Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight! Your faith has healed you." At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they praised God too." - Luke 18:35-37, 39-43 CEB
The importance of this encounter was that Jesus was moved by the blind man's appeal, but notice Jesus was not quick to assume that he knew what the blind man wanted or desired. He simply took the time to ask, "What do you want me to do for you?" In the aftermath of the recent tornadoes that moved through parts of our state we may be tempted to rush in and just begin doing what we believe should and ought to be done. I pray we would simply pause and compose ourselves and ask, "what do you want me to do for you?" If we simply rush in we could become more of a distraction and contribute to more injury, pain and further loss or in some very tragic ways even hurt ourselves.
If we stop and simply ask those we are seeking to help or those who are leading the effort to help, "what do you want me to do for you?" we might see a miracle and be a part of an opportunity to praise God.
So let's take a prayer break and ask the Comforter to comfort those that are not coping with loss of loved ones, property damage and displacement. Let us give God praise and thanksgiving for lives spared. Let us pray for the early response teams that are working feverishly to restore some sense of normalcy to those communities devastated by these tornadoes. Let us give of our money, our time, our resources and our love as soon as we know the places, people and institutions to which we can give. Let's just ask the question together "what do you want me to do for you?"