“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’” – Luke 5:18-20
Whenever I read this story, I catch a glimmer of what God created the Church to be. These men saw their friend needed help, so they picked him up and carried him through town to meet Jesus. When they couldn’t get inside the building, they literally climbed onto the roof, made a hole, and lowered their friend into the room. In a moment of desperation, these men showed up and refused to let failure be an option. It’s the kind of story which sets a fire in your bones.
Like many believers, I’ve been watching the events in Houston with a mixture of grief and frustration. The devastating floodwaters have left thousands of people homeless with many more still racing to escape the rising tide. Now more than ever it’s important for the body of Christ to show up and offer help where we can. This is what the very heart of the gospel compels us to do.
In a recent article for The Gospel Coalition, Trevin Wax reflected on how the Church must be ready to bring hope to Houston in the coming days. He writes,
“I remember how churches mobilized when the Nashville flood hit a few years ago. In the aftermath, we gutted houses and helped people reconstruct their live. I remember the stench of those washed out neighborhoods, but I also remember the fragrance of God's people, present in the pain.”
“Still, when disasters come, the Church rushes into the mess of the world to put things back together. We can show a sin-soaked, fallen world that God has promised to make ‘all things new.’ We want to give people a glimpse of God fulfilling that future promise, through our present work.”
Wax isn’t wrong either. Countless images have begun circulating throughout social media depicting the brave men and women who have already stepped forward to help those affected by the disaster. But what about those of us outside Houston? What can we do to help in this time of crisis?
Well, we can start by giving. The American Red Cross is taking donations to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey, while also encouraging individuals to visit local blood drives which are currently broadcasting an emergency need for blood and platelet donors. Christian relief groups such as World Vision are assembling Family Food Kits which will be distributed through Churches and other partners. Even the SPCA is taking volunteers and donations to help Houston families reconnect with their lost pets. For other ways you can get involved, check out this helpful article by Crosswalk’s very own Liz Kanoy.
What’s happened in Texas is a tragedy, but it’s also an opportunity for the followers of God to reveal who we are and what we believe. Like the men in Luke 5, we must show up and refuse to take failure as an option. Whether that means assisting in rescue efforts, donating food, opening our homes, or giving what little we can, now is the time for Christians everywhere to come forward and love their neighbor as themselves (Mark 12:31).
May the Lord watch over and protect the people of Texas, Amen.
Ryan Duncan is an Editor for Crosswalk.com
(Image Credit: An evacuee is helped to dry land after her home was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)