Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards recently attended a special sacrament meeting (Church service) to thank the Mormons for their service in helping with the flood-ravaged areas in the southern parts of the state.
The church members sang, "I Am a Child of God", with the next phrase being, "And He has sent me here." Governor Edwards told those in attendance, "I Have No Doubt God Sent You Here."
I always thought of that phrase referring to earth itself, but it was a thoughtful and clever turn of the phrase. Maybe God sent him there too.
That aside, I know a few people who will wonder to themselves: "Uh, that's nice that you think God sent you guys there, but couldn't he have just *not* sent the rains/floods? So much loss and suffering! And what a colossal waste!"
I think everyone should have an answer to this question in case it gets asked.
For those who don't have one yet, you're welcome to borrow mine till you do. =)
- A wise man* once told me, "If you wonder whether God sends the storms, or simply allows them to pass -- read the book of Job." Spoiler: God doesn't send the storms, they are part of living in a fallen world. God can, and sometimes does intervene, if the faith and prayers of the people qualify them for miracles, and they align with his purposes. But sometimes he has even greater things in store for us...
- We exist so we can have joy. (2 Ne 2:25) We think joy comes from ease, comfort, and pleasure -- but God knows joy comes from strength, and from being loved, trusted, understood and feeling that their work is appreciated. And how do we get that? From work, which often looks like service. Why catastrophes? So people can become strong, and have opportunities to serve others, "that the works of God should be made manifest" (John 9:3).
People who served in the Hurricane Katrina cleanup still talk about it as one of the greatest things they ever did.
Maybe this will be one of those experiences for the next generation of people.
* Thx Bro. Beard!