Every tragedy in life seems to bring out the best and the worst in people. During hurricanes Katrina and Rita we saw people looting stores and stealing cars. At the same time we saw people risk their lives to save others. We also witnessed many people helping others who were less fortunate than themselves.
That is similar to the way God operates in life. God does not stop the evil or tragedy from happening. However, God always brings good out of evil. God is a “good-finder.” That is the whole story of the cross. The crucifixion of an innocent man was an evil act, but God used this event to bring good into our world – our salvation in Jesus.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused much damage and harm. People are still trying to get their lives together. Some are depressed and losing hope in the process. While we want to be sensitive to those who are still suffering from the damage done by the hurricanes, we can also find some “good” that has occurred from such devastation. These experiences can actually make us stronger and better people. We have undergone many changes since the hurricanes, but through our faith in God, we can see some positive good in all of this. Thanks to God, we have weathered the storm.
The following is an edited prayer of thanksgiving written to commemorate the anniversary of Katrina. (We can also include Rita as part of this prayer.) The author is unknown. The title of the prayer is Rewriting the History of August 29: A Prayer.
“Thank you, God, for letting me understand what it means to be homeless, to live without electric power, without television, without cool air-conditioning in the hottest part of summer. Thank you for helping me understand those who are hungry, those who have no clean dry clothes or a comfortable place to sleep at night.
Thank you for my new awareness and empathy for those who were homeless before the storm and are homeless now, and for hungry people around the world who do not know where they will find food for their next meal.
Thank you for helping me understand the deep and overwhelming sadness when forces beyond our control take away those people and things that we love, that are part of our everyday life.
Thank you, God, for the opportunity you gave me to help my neighbor, to be my neighbor’s keeper, to serve food, to patch roofs, to clean yards, and to start mending that which was broken. Thank you for the chance to change ourselves, to look at our everyday life differently, for teaching us to “make do,” to get by, to improvise, to “come down a few notches,” for being less complacent and callous, for silencing our noisy world, for getting out of the rat race, and for the chance to do our best when the worst occurred.
Thank you, God, for the people who reached out to the living, cradled the dead, comforted the brokenhearted, and wept with those whose lives were uprooted and shattered. Thank you for the people who jumped in right away, who opened their homes, who emptied their shelves, their closets, who cleaned, fed, healed, and supported those who kept on coming.
Thank you, God, for the people whose actions flow from their faith, who respond to others as if they were Christ. Thank you for all the new people we have met, our new friends, new loved ones, new brothers and sisters, new neighbors.
Thank you, Katrina (and Rita) – not for the wind or the water, but for the appreciation of the people, things, and the values that no storm can take from us. Amen.”