For the United States this week has been a week of heartache and disaster, between the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the fire and explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas.
When the bombing occurred I couldn’t help but flash back to the twin towers on 9-11. That morning I turned on the television with the intent of turning on Sesame Street for my son Christian, who was four at the time. Before I changed the channel, I was stunned by the site of a plane flying into the second tower. For a few moments I froze and Christian saw the images burning themselves on the screen. Then I regained my composure and changed the channel before he would see any more.
Those few moments were enough. For the next several months Christian would draw pictures of burning buildings with planes flying at them. Always the pictures would have fire trucks at the scene with firefighters on ladders going up the buildings. He would also draw superheroes flying towards the buildings and every single time, the superheroes were larger than the planes.
This makes me think of a quote going around Facebook this week by Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers fame:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would
say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. To
this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I
am always comforted by realizing there are so many helpers – so many caring
people in this world.
Christian, during the terrible events of 9-11 looked to the helpers. He looked to the firefighters and the superheroes. I also pointed him to the greatest helper of all, God. We spent many nights praying for the people involved in 9-11.
As disaster befalls our nation once again, I am reminded to look to the helpers: the first responders, the firefighters, the medical personnel, the ambulance drivers, and many more who are in the trenches working to save lives and give hope to the hurting.
More important, I am reminded to look to the greatest helper, God who is there in the trenches helping the hurting. God knows what suffering is. He suffered immensely when his only son went to the cross. He also suffers when his children suffer. Because of his great love, he is there as helper to whom we can turn. Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “God has said ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,’ So we can say in confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’”
In the midst of tragedy and turmoil we can be confident in a loving God who is there for us. That’s his promise. We can stand on it.