Whenever I hear of catastrophic events or tragedies such as the Boston Marathon explosion on April 15, 2013 or the devastating tornadoes that struck Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013, it’s not long before I’m asking, “Where are the other stories?” As horrific and mind-numbing as these terrible events are, look hard enough and you’ll find stories of hope and heroes.
My husband found one such story in the aftermath of the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Carlos Arrendondo, a 52 year old Costa Rican immigrant standing near the finish line, was waiting to greet a runner who had competed in honor of Carlos’ son, Alexander who died in Iraq in 2004. When the bombs exploded, Carlos sprinted across the street, tore away scaffolding and fencing to get to victims, and used his own clothes to staunch bleeding. One graphic photograph showed him pinching an artery on a partially severed leg of a man in a wheelchair.
Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t like these tragic events. None of us do. We should feel anger, horror, and grief. Yet, instead of wringing our hands at how awful the world is, we can do what Carlos did – jump in there, face the evil and overcome the evil with good (Romans 12:21).
Our God is expert at doing that. He makes redemptive use out of horrible situations so that His glory and goodness will shine through. That’s what Christ did on the cross. That’s what the Lord does in a million little and not-so-little ways every day. That’s how He longs to use His followers, that all of us will be conduits of His compassion and grace if we will just let Him.
Broken lives and ruined homes don’t reside only in Boston and Moore. We have microcosms of brokenness all around us every day. God can use YOU, wants to use you to proclaim hope, courage and compassion to the hurting around you.
A watching world will notice. I like the quote I saw on Facebook from Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
When we help, when sacrifice our time, convenience, safety, even our lives, we demonstrate God’s power to redeem bad situations. We exemplify Christ’s sacrificial love. We brush aside the utter despair that people so often feel after tragic events. We give reason to hope again. We remind the world that there is a God who cares and not everyone in the world is filled with evil; there are indeed transformed people who are overcoming evil with good. Those people are the real winners in this marathon we call life.
What stories of hope and heroism have you heard come out the Moore, Oklahoma tornado devastation? Share the stories. We need to hear them.
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