Typhoon Haiyan struck the central Philippines last Friday, causing massive destruction across 41 provinces. Thousands of people were killed in the typhoon, and more than 600,000 people have been displaced.
The United Nations has already given $25 million in aid to help relief efforts, and has launched an appeal for $300 million more. Several countries have deployed ships to assist with evacuation and rescue, and the US military is assisting in Tacloban, one of the worst-hit towns, but bad weather and damaged infrastructure in many areas are interfering with the distribution of aid. Communities around the world are raising money to donate to relief efforts — the Filipino community of Southern California, the largest community of Filipinos outside their country, has raised thousands of dollars already.
Many people will want to financially support relief efforts, which are providing the essential services desperately needed in the wake of the typhoon. But a prayerful response can also uphold safety, reveal resources, and comfort those affected by the tragedy.
“A message from the Philippines: 'Ang ating Diyos ay mabuti' (Our God is good)” asserts that an unshakable trust in God can uplift human spirits, open pathways for aid to reach those who need it, and enable us to perceive resources that may have been overlooked. The article also reminds us that natural disasters never have their source in God; God brings only peace and calm to His children.
“God doesn’t create ‘natural disasters’” takes this point further, exploring how our right understanding of God not only brings speedy help and comfort to those affected by disasters, but can also help eliminate the destructive elements of storms and other phenomena from our experience.
How do we pray when confronted with evidence of lives lost and homes destroyed? “Addressing tragedies and ‘sudden endings’” explores some good ideas that can help us respond prayerfully. The author reminds us that a good place to start is by insisting that good is not helpless; that our or others’ spiritual qualities can’t be lost or cut off by any material circumstances.
The Sentinel staff hopes you’ll find the ideas in these articles helpful as you pray for the Philippines.
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