Responding to Disaster

bird_in_oil_epa

It has now been over two months since the Deepwater Horizon spill began in the Gulf of Mexico. Two months of non-stop news, unavoidable to even the smallest of ears. What do you, as a parent, have to offer your children when they turn to you with sadness over the oil-soaked birds? What hope can you offer, as a Christian, to your children who wonder why God doesn’t stop the oceans from being destroyed? We asked some of Thomas Nelson’s most loved and respected authors to chime in with a prayer, a word of advice, and a glimmer of hope for you and you children in this difficult time.

Niger Delta

Max Lucado:

The oil spill warrants urgent prayer. God loves his creation. May he forgive our misuse and show us how to stop the flow and clean the mess.”

Max Lucado has been writing and preaching, teaching and telling stories for more than 25 years. Many of the over 65 million books he’s sold were written to tell children just how much God loves them, and how very special they are!

Wayne Thomas Batson:

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” 1Pet. 5:7 When the storms of life come, remember you are never alone.

Wayne Thomas Batson is a middle-school teacher in Maryland, and the author of 5 best-selling novels. His most recent series, The Berinfell Prophecies is a fantasy adventure for tweens co-written with Christoper Hopper.

Colleen Coble:

It’s sometimes scary to watch the news, but God doesn’t want you to be afraid. Nothing happens that He doesn’t know about, and He is strong enough to fix anything. All we have to do is pray and He is right there, holding your hand, close enough for His breath to stir your hair. You are safe in His arms.

Colleen Coble is the best-selling author of several novels including Cry in the Night and Anathema. When she’s not writing wonderful fiction, you can find her blogging at Girls Write Out.

Amy Parker:

Searching for help? Nowhere to turn?

You’ve looked both high and low?

There’s just one thing to remember:

Prayer is the best place to go.

from God’s Promises for Girls & Boys

I love Psalm 46:1-2. During tragedy, it always reminds me that God is watching, and He is in control of the earth and everything in it.

Amy Parker authored the bestselling A Night Night Prayer and has collaborated with authors ranging from a New York Times bestseller to her own son.

Psalm 46:1-3 says this:

1 God is our place of safety. He gives us strength.

He is always there to help us in times of trouble.

2 The earth may fall apart.

The mountains may fall into the middle of the sea.

But we will not be afraid.

3 The waters of the sea may roar and foam.

The mountains may shake when the waters rise.

But we will not be afraid

deepwaterhorizon

Andy Andrews:

Only people who DO SOMETHING recover quickly. So our thoughts are about what we CAN DO rather than what we cannot. We don’t lack money or time or leadership. We only lack an idea! And while we are thinking toward that idea, we are doing something.We can either cry or we can create a memory for our children that includes new friends who came from all over the world to help us.

Andy Andrews hailed by a New York Times writer as someone who has become “one of the most influential people in America,” is a bestselling novelist and in-demand corporate speaker. His latest release is The Heart Mender. His new children’s book, The Boy Who Changed the World and The Butterfly Effect for adults are both out this Fall.

Kathleen Fuller:

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Prov. 3:5. Always know that no matter what, God is in control.

Kathleen Fuller is the author of the best-selling novels A Man of His Word and An Honest Love, and has just launched an Amish Fiction series for children called The Mysteries of Middlefield.

Paula Alflen:

Dear Lord, we pray for those who are rescuing our ocean from the oil spill, that you will give them courage and wisdom to take care of every creature in your name. Bless those families who are touched by this tragedy that they may find peace and hope in you. Amen

Paula Alflen is the brains behind the hit new activity series for kids: Printoons! Her background as a Dietitian gives her a unique view of child development, and her Printoons encourage children to embrace that God made them to be unique- you can see it in their fingerprints!

Robert Liparulo:

Children understand big things through small ones. The oil spill is as scary and hurtful as a forest fire, as sad as the death of a pet. But God is good: “His huge outstretched arms protect you; under them you’re perfectly safe.” -Psalm 91:4, The Message Comfort your children with the words of Psalm 91.

Robert Liparulo is the author of the Dreamhouse Kings young adult adventure series—perfect for summer reading as a family

Sheila Walsh:

One of the greatest gifts that God has given us is this beautiful planet. From coast to coast across out nation we see God’s splendour everywhere we look. Sometimes that beauty is damaged by things that no one could see coming like a tornado or a hurricane. In those times we pray for one another and trust ourselves to God’s care.

Sometimes however the damage can be traced back to human hands whether it was intentional like someone who set a fire or a situation like we are currently experiencing with the oil spill in the gulf. Whether it was the failure of a piece of equipment to function properly or human error in installation and safety procedures will not be completely clear for some time. But even in a disaster like this one which will affect millions for a long time we know several things for sure.

1-This situation breaks the heart of God who loves his creation

2-No matter how dark things look right now we rest in the truth that God loves the people of the Gulf Coast and is watching over them. Not one tear will fall or one, “Why?” will be raised to God that he does receive.

When Paul wrote his first letter to the Church in Corinth he made a powerful statement that “Now we see as in a glass darkly but then we will see face to face.” We don’t understand why God allows these things to happen but we trust that he is God and he is good and he is watching over us all.

Now, we have the privilege of praying for everyone affected that even in this situation they would know the love and peace of God more intensely that they have ever known before.

If you have ever been in a hard, dark place, you know how that feels and that will give strength and power to our prayers as we seek to comfort others just as God has comforted us.

Sheila Walsh, Women of Faith speaker, is author of the award-winning Gigi, God’s Little Princess series, Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God, and a new fiction trilogy Angel Song. Sheila lives in Frisco, Texas with her husband Barry and son Christian.

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Jenny B Jones:

Isaiah 43 says that God is with us when we pass through the waters, and that He will not let them overwhelm us. We will not be scorched when we walk through the fire, for “I am the Lord your God.” In these hard times of floods, war, and destruction, I love how God says, “I’ve got you covered. I’m here for you.” It’s so hard to remember that when we’re afraid and facing the worst. But no oil spill, no flood, no catastrophe is bigger than the comfort he wants to give us.

Jenny B Jones writes YA Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. She also teaches highscoolers, God bless her!

Christopher Hopper

“Natural disasters where not unheard of to Jesus; likewise, He gave us the power to bring order into chaos and calm storms (Mark 4:35-40).”

Christopher Hopper, whose latest project is The Berinfell Prophecies, is also a recording artist, youth pastor, and motivational speaker. He has dedicated his life to positively affecting the culture and longs to see young people inspired to live meaningful lives.

Nowen N. Particular:

“God has made a specialty out of cleaning up man-made disasters, starting with the one in the Garden.”

Marty Longé (aka Nowen N Particular) is the brains behind Boomtown and other such crazy worlds for young readers.

Eldon Johnson:

“I Hate Death”

Those were the words of my wife this morning as she heard that Buster, the family dog, had died. She was surprised that she was crying–the dog had never been trustworthy with our kids. But I understood her tears. Buster was a part of our family, a part of our lives–and death hurts. It’s a strange void, it feels unnatural. Emma, almost 9 asked some questions, trying to understand; Grace, 6, cried and said, “but I didn’t get to say good-bye; and Chloe, 4, said “Oh well, Buster’s in Heaven! At least we get to see him in heaven.”

When I think of the oil spill, and the images of dead or dying animals and birds–I believe we and our children are bumping up against this one terrible realty–We Hate Death! And we should! Because, joy of joys, God Hates Death! That’s what I will tell my kids tonight as we talk about Buster, or the oil spill. God hates death (and the chaos of this world) because it is NOT natural. His plan for us was a perfect world! In fact, he declares the death and chaos of this world His enemy –”and the final enemy, Death, will be overthrown…Death itself will be swallowed up in victory!” Chloe was right–death, sickness, pain are not the end, in fact they are a terrible aberration to be endured until the coming victory of the True King.

Eldon Johnson is a Harvard grad and former Harvard chaplain. His first children’s book, The King’s Christmas List, comes out this year and encourages families to embrace giving to others as a Christmas tradition.