God Is Faithful in Light of Devastation

God Is Faithful in Light of Devastation

We know times of disaster and devastation bring uncertainty, fear and hopelessness. They can shake us to our core, test us and stretch us beyond our limits. And yet, these times of challenges we face from the devastation caused by fire can also reveal a resiliency and strength like we have never known. As we come to terms with our changed island home, we can turn to God and His promises to bring comfort, encouragement, reassurances and hope for the days ahead.

This moment affects us all. As a community, as an island, as a person. And as we rise to meet needs and respond to our changed world, we are reminded of the exhortation of Paul to the Philippian church: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3,4) A dear friend reminded me: Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)

Our grandchildren in San Diego, Calif. are shown here packing relief boxes for victims of the recent Lahaina wildfires.
Photo: Meredith Bagoyo Burns

From the outset, we have witnessed love in action reflecting the goodness of God through the residents of Maui: first responders putting their lives on the line to save others; churches collecting goods and opening their doors ready to assist in any way; local and county organizations mobilizing to support our hurting community; and individuals opening their closets, their food pantries and their very homes to those who are directly affected by this disaster.

So, before us we have the selflessness of Jesus and the reminder Love is an action word. Now more than ever, we need to search our hearts and look beyond ourselves to extend compassion, grace and comfort in practical ways. We must let go of our personal idols of comfort and security and look to give, give and give some more. Each of us has much to share and will be called on to share it in the days, weeks and months ahead.

For those who are suffering and in great need, you are not alone. Our circumstances are never assured and constantly change. But God is steadfast and when we cry out to Him as Jeremiah does in Lamentations, He is faithful to answer and we are reminded to stand on the truth of The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22–23)

We look to Him for hope rather than the situations in which we find ourselves. We cannot pretend to know why something as devastating as the recent fires would happen. But often it stirs our hearts to find God; to search His Character and to remember His Love is overall.

We have an opportunity to focus not on what we have lost and cannot change but on what makes us Maui ‘ohana and therefore stronger than we are as individuals. I saw this posted on Facebook attributed to Clifford Valite: The famous Banyan Tree on Front Street in Lahaina is still standing. Leaves and branches got burned, but its roots and foundations are strong just like the people of Hawai‘i. Give it time and it will start blooming again to become stronger and more beautiful than ever. That sentiment is reflective of God’s promise of beauty from ashes when we place faith in Him.

Maui, May the Lord keep you and Bless you as we care for each other.