I’m not sure any of us could have imagined the life-altering impact a number, a slash, and two more numbers, in that order, would have on American history. Sixteen years ago, I found myself sitting in science lab at North Greenville University when a TV was brought in to show the shock, devastation, and confusion that began at the hands of Islamic terrorists on that fateful day. During our midweek worship at Mud Creek that week, we did what thousands of other churches did — we gathered to pray. Then we responded. Teams left to help put the pieces back together spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Fast forward 16 years. One hurricane just left Houston under water. Another is pounding Florida, Georgia and large parts of the Southeast. Yesterday, we prayed for those caught in its path and the many still reeling from the one that decimated Texas. In the coming weeks, we will respond.

That’s what the church does. We pray. We respond. We seek God’s gracious intervention in the tragedies, disasters, and hurricanes. Then we ask Him to empower our hands and feet to give provision, relief, and aid to those caught under these calamities.

Why? That’s what Jesus did. When the devastating hurricane of evil, the vicious attack of the enemy, and the overwhelming flood of sin sought to bury us under their wake, Jesus prayed for us (see John 17) and the strength to fulfill His Father’s will (see Matthew 26:36-46), and then He responded by defeating Satan, evil, and even death upon the cross. We pray and respond to the hurts, battles, and disasters of others because Jesus did just that for us.

Today, pray. Tomorrow, respond. Like Jesus did for you. And as we do, the 9/11’s and the Hurricane Irma’s become the springboards for God to continue to display His grace and power in this world through us.


Author: drroberthefner

I am a husband, father, minister, teacher, and author striving to love Jesus. A fan of all things Tolkien, Lewis, Marvel and Star Wars. I live in Pleasant Garden, NC, and am honored to serve as the Sr. Pastor at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church. I like school (Fruitland Baptist Bible College, A.A., 2001; North Greenville University, B.A., 2003; The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, M.Div., 2007; and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ed.D., Education, 2013). I have been married to Diana since 2003 and we have one son, Joseph. You can connect with me on Twitter @RobertHefner.

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