Thursday, June 9, 2011

Joplin rebuilding

“Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth” - Jer. 33:6

I was back in Joplin this week and was encouraged to see the rebuilding beginning. Many are still absorbing the destruction and are grieving through the pain. But make no mistake, the rebuilding and the healing are underway. President Obama referred to the “Spirit of Joplin” and that spirit of healing is what’s making all the difference.

Healing is naturally in the DNA of every human on earth. Even the grouchiest person will lend a hand in the midst of a crisis. The most self-centered person will drop their own desires and give, at least for a while. God is a God of reconciliation, healing and new beginnings. If we yield to God’s will through us, we become rebuilders too.

Rebuilding the real estate: homes, businesses, schools….backyards, tree houses, …forts, toys and play grounds are being built. It’s more than just structures being rebuilt in Joplin. Somewhere in those dump trucks are bits and pieces of people’s lives. There are baseballs, pictures, and other items that seemed so trivial before the destruction but now are priceless. Wood is being cut, nails nailed and toys purchased.

Rebuilding a livelihood: when so many businesses were destroyed, people not only lost income but they lost purpose. We forget sometimes that jobs aren't just about making money, but they are about bringing meaning to our lives. Most businesses have gone to great lengths to pay their employees and rebuild their structures. Purpose is returning.

Rebuilding family: of course, so many have lost family members forever and the grief is seemingly insurmountable. But most are moving through the pain. Everyone has experienced change to their neighborhood and communities. Through a cloud of loneliness and separation, people are embracing families and friends like never before. Family is strong and people are embracing those they love.

Rebuilding faith: many questioned God after the tornado. Why would God allow such a horrific thing to happen to Joplin? But what most have discovered is that it’s not about “why” but about “who.” In this natural world, weather happens but the God of the Universe happens more. God promises to be there and everywhere. God doesn't always explain “why” but He does promise to always be with us. Most are embracing God like never before and are discovering that life really is fragile and precious.

Let’s keep praying for Joplin and let us be inspired by the spirit of healing and rebuilding that is taking place in that community. May every community learn that it’s when we embrace God’s grace and love that we’re truly free.

That peace is available anytime God is acknowledged anywhere.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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