PRAYER ALERT on Puerto Rico chaos. Puerto Rico was already suffering from deep external debt and infrastructure woes. Then on September 20 Category 4 Hurricane Maria swept through the island. Winds of 155 mph tore up homes, businesses, roads, farms and forests. The island’s entire electrical grid collapsed. Nearly all 3.4 million Puerto Ricans lost power. Flooded by contaminated water, most had nothing to drink. Vast tracts of destroyed crops caused many to fear a prolonged famine in the land.
The use of convoys of trucks to bring food, potable water, gasoline and other supplies to Texas and Florida was not possible for an island. Instead, aid was packed onto ships which plowed through the troubled waters. Multitudes of containers eventually jammed Puerto Rico’s harbors. But the aid packages were stalled by blacked-out seaports and broken, blocked, and bottle-necked roads. In the Puerto Rico chaos, most residents received no outside aid at all in the first week after Hurricane Maria struck.
Jesus told us that “nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world” (Luke 21:25-26). Jesus said that when we see such disasters as famines and earthquakes, we should not fear that the end of the world has come. “All these are the beginning of birth pangs” (Mt. 24:8). Greater and greater disasters will come, as will a great apostasy, “but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (verse 13). At the same time that false Christians turn away from the Lord, a great harvest from the nations will turn to Him. “And this gospel will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (verse 14).
Joel’s prophecy quoted in Acts 2:19-21 also shows great disasters as times of great salvation. “I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Whatever place nations and their governments cannot reach, God and His people can reach. Of course we should keep praying that government aid does reach the isolated Puerto Ricans. And we can thank God that already airports and seaports have regained power. That communications are being restored. That many roads have been cleared for transport of aid to the interior. The US government has agreed to pay 100 percent—instead of the usual 75 percent—of the costs of debris removal and of emergency measures to protect lives and restore public health.
But earthly governments cannot bring salvation. Only the gospel of God’s kingdom can. The more tribulation we have, the more we can learn to overcome with Him.
PRAY that God will do all this for testimonies to His great grace:
- Speed up the clearance of roads and the restoration of power.
- Make divine appointments between the first responders and those in greatest need.
- Send and empower Christian teams with both physical and spiritual food and water, for body and soul.
- Use Christian teams to partner with and strengthen local churches to reach the surrounding populations.
- Give His people the wisdom of Joseph to gain favor with the authorities and to help distribute supplies justly.
- Comfort the grieving, and show them how to make the most of the rest of their lives.
- Make His people lights to draw unbelievers to Christ and begin to build a better life than before.
- Prepare His people to lead others to overcome the storms and tribulations to come.
- Turn disaster-struck regions into fertile fields of harvest.
DailyInsight. Trouble and the grace to bear it come in the same package. Dave Branon (see Rom. 5:1-5).
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