As I continue to reflect on the time I spent working with IDES in taking help and hope to people in Kentucky following a mid-December tornado outbreak, here is another story of the heart.
For Such a Time as This
One of the questions that gets asked in a multitude of ways is some version of why. You have probably heard it more often than you would like and have perhaps asked it more often than you would care to admit. Asking why isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be quite helpful in a variety of ways to help us learn the story behind the story.
In the midst of all of the usual “Why us?”, “Why here?”, and the why of all the particular details experienced by those who need help, there often comes a why from the outside that ranges from “Why are you doing anything at all?” to “Why are you helping there and not over here?”. In this particular disaster response, I ended up in Bowling Green, Kentucky but the epicenter of media coverage was in Mayfield, Kentucky so it was not all that surprising that many were asking why we weren’t in Mayfield.
As I’ve had time to reflect, I suppose the simplest answer is that Bowling Green is where God opened a door of effective service for me to do. It’s not that I, or IDES, could not have been effective elsewhere, but rather this is where God made the connections in order to meet the needs of people. When I think about the individuals I encountered and was able to listen to, I know God was using me for such a time as this. From the young family holding the only remaining survivor of a relative’s household to an elderly gentleman too grief-stricken to even remember what it was like when the tornado tore open his roof and flattened the outbuildings stuffed full of memories from multiple generations, there were continually people in front of me that needed a listening ear to allow them to tell their stories and a gentle response of love and hope.
While I don’t know the motivations behind the various questions of why we were there and not somewhere else, I do know that God used those questions to help me focus on exactly why I was where I was — it was to love and serve people in the midst of their need. I have not yet figured out how to be in multiple places at once so for now I serve in faith in the places where God opens the doors and I trust that He has others doing the same thing in the other communities that need help. The stories from my time in Bowling Green are simply a continual thread of how God was using so much of the work He has been doing in me during my lifetime in order to prepare me for such a time as this.
But the story doesn’t end there. The more pertinent application for you, the reader, is what has God been doing in you throughout your lifetime to prepare you for such a time as this wherever you are? As a child of God you are called by Him to do the works of service He created in advance for you to do. Whether those works of service are 500, 1000, or 5000 miles away or they exist in your community, next door, or even in your own home, please know that God is preparing you for such a time as this!