The Heart of a Hero

Hurrican Harvey Response

The following words include some content from an anonymously authored article I read this week. Other portions are purely mine. It’s about the heart of a hero.

After Hurricane Harvey struck, hundreds of pickups, 18-wheelers, and SUVs from across the country headed for Houston and other parts of southeast Texas, driven by men and women with the heart of a hero. They used their own vehicles, sacrificed their own time, spent their own money, and risked their own lives for one reason: to help total strangers in desperate need.

Many came alone, some in groups from service organizations, neighborhoods, or churches. Most wore tattered gimme-hats, t-shirts, and jeans. Some just brought stuff needed by people whose homes were flooded. Others came to help any way they could, including providing a hugely helpful service described by the highly technical term of “mucking” out flooded homes.

For days they waded in cold, dirty water, dodging gators, water moccasins, and fire ants. They ate whatever meager rations were available and slept wherever they could in dirty, damp clothes.

Their reward was in the tears, hugs, and smiles from the terrified people they helped rescue from rooftops, and the saddened people who saw decades of furniture and personal possessions taken from their homes and stacked on the curb along the street on which they lived.

When disaster strikes, that’s what real, heroic, selfless people do. Day after day they got up before dawn, to do it again, until the helpless were rescued. Many will continue to do so in the months ahead until the recovery process is completed and the restoration work is accomplished.

Most of them will not be paid for their labors or reimbursed for their expenses. They won’t receive any medals. They don’t care about accolades. They simply have a heart for people in need. They’re heroes. And doing what this article describes is what heroes do

Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me” (Matt. 25:40). There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a hero!

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The Greatest

Little League

Last week I heard on the radio a song by Kenny Rogers and thought it would be worth sharing. It’s about eternal optimism and positive thinking. Here are the words:

Little boy in a baseball hat stands in the field with his ball and bat.
Says, “I am the greatest player of them all,”
Puts his bat on his shoulder and he tosses up his ball.
And the ball goes up and the ball comes down,
Swings his bat all the way around.
The world’s so still you can hear the sound, the baseball falls…to the ground.

Now the little boy doesn’t say a word, picks up his ball, he is undeterred.
Says, “I am the greatest there has ever been,”
And grits his teeth and he tries it again.
And the ball goes up and the ball comes down,
Swings his bat all the way around.
The world’s so still you can hear the sound, the baseball falls…to the ground.

He makes no excuses, he shows no fear,
He just closes his eyes and listens to the cheers.
Little boy, he adjusts his hat, picks up his ball, stares at his bat.
Says, “I am the greatest, when the game is on the line,”
And he gives his all…one last time.
And the ball goes up with the moon so bright,
Swings his bat with all his might.
And the world’s as still as still can be,
The baseball falls…and that’s strike three.

Now it’s suppertime and his momma calls,
Little boy starts home with his bat and ball.
Says, “I am the greatest, that is a fact.
But even I didn’t know I could pitch like that!”
Says, “I am the greatest, that is understood.
But even I didn’t know I could pitch that good!”

Some may call that denial. I call it positive thinking, putting the best construction on everything.

Why Do People Rebuild after a Disaster?

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This past Monday we were reminded of the traumatic events of an unforgettable day – Sept. 11, 2001. We saw images of destruction but we also saw photos of a new tower and a strikingly powerful memorial in New York City. After that disaster, rebuilding occurred.

Earlier this week I read an article by Rev. Bob Tasler (www.bobtasler.com), retired LCMS pastor living in Colorado. Much of his article is shared here with his permission.

In a Denver Post article Greg Hobbs asked: “Why do people rebuild after a disaster?” Hurricanes destroy homes, wildfires burn businesses, and floods ruin communities. But when you ask disaster survivors what they plan to do, nearly all will say, “We will rebuild again.” 

Why? Knowing another hurricane or wildfire or flood might come again, why do people continue to build in places that are prone to such disasters?

Dobbs asked a man who had lost homes in three hurricanes why he planned to rebuild again.

Instead of giving him reasons, the man asked, “Where are you from?” “Originally San Francisco,” Dobbs said. “Don’t they have earthquakes there?” “Yes, but I live in Colorado now,” Dobbs said. “Don’t y’all have wild fires in Colorado?” said the man. Yes, Dobbs told him, in 2012 and 2013 Colorado lost over a thousand homes to forest fires, and most of them rebuilt their homes again.

Communities along the Mississippi are destroyed by floods, but they rebuild again. People from Oklahoma and Kansas see homes and towns torn apart by tornadoes, but they, too, rebuild. Colorado has had enormous hailstorms destroy homes, autos and buildings, but people still rebuild. Dobbs concluded his article, “If one doesn’t get you, another might.”

Why do we rebuild in those places again? My Dad once told me, “Everyone has to be somewhere.” So simple, yet so true. With seven billion people on our planet, everyone has to be somewhere, and there is no place without some danger.

I’ve got some bad news: Humans are responsible for all these disasters. Yup, it’s all our fault, but not for the reasons climate alarmists would have us believe.

The original perfection of our world has been messed up by sin. Genesis 3 tells us God cursed the ground because of mankind’s rebellion. Because of our sin, individually and corporately, we people have pain and suffering, no matter where we live. Thorns and thistles, work and sweat, pain of childbirth and families, all will be the lot of mankind until we return to the dust from which we were taken. That’s the reason for the disasters, not plastic or coal or carbon dioxide.

But there is good news. God has promised us not only forgiveness, but also a new heaven and a new earth in the future, where “God’s dwelling place is among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

Meanwhile, we live and rebuild and do our best to find joy in the life God has given us. The new heavens and new earth will come because of God’s goodness in Jesus Christ. He will one day give His followers a more perfect existence. I look forward to that day with great hope!

May God protect and defend all who face disaster, and bring them new life and hope!

Stress in Life

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Most people have stress in life. It comes in all forms. It can be financial, relational, professional, familial, physical, emotional, or psychological.

Wouldn’t it be great if stress were to be totally eliminated from life? That’s not realistic. Stress is a reality. It’s the result of sin. We all sin. We all experience stress. We can’t get away from it.

Even though stress is unavoidable and not enjoyable, under normal circumstances it can be manageable. Not all circumstances are normal. Some stressors are beyond our control.

Consider the stress experienced by victims of Hurricane Harvey. They were all just minding their own business of living and working, with normal levels of stress. Out of the blue an unwelcome intruder entered their lives, bringing with it unimaginable destruction and devastation.

As mentioned last week, there are many ways to provide relief for people in need, including contributing through the Texas District LCMS at this website: https://secure.accessacs.com/access/oglogin.aspx?sn=147381&f=4.

As the Spirit moves and as you are able, consider a significant gift. Every dollar you contribute through this website will be used to assist those in greatest need.

If you are moved to contribute appreciated securities or portions of an IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or any other non-cash asset, please contact us for assistance: info@legacydeo.org or 800-880-3733.

To the trouble and trauma of Harvey is added the pending presence of Irma, headed toward currently predicted landfall in the United States. Florida’s governor has already declared an emergency in that highly vulnerable state.

Overshadowed by news about Harvey and Irma are dozens of wildfires in western states, occurring even now. Those states include Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, and Montana.

On top of the stress that accompanies these natural disasters, consider the idiocy of the supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has ordered way-too-frequent tests of missiles and hydrogen bombs that pose a very real threat to the U.S. At least 14 such missile launches have occurred since February of this year.

So we face normal stress of daily living, uninvited stress from natural disasters, and international stress from a rogue nation with a leader seemingly hell-bent on nuclear destruction. What are we to do? How are we to live? Where do we turn for comfort and assurance?

Try these words from Psalm 46:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging … Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress … He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth … He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”