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In this technological age, with global news literally at our fingertips, we have access to events happening around the world in real time as they are unfolding. There are positives and negatives to this reality.

On one hand, we have an opportunity to be immediate responders when we encounter tragic news. On the other hand, in the time it takes for the news to hit us, it’s only moments until we hear about the next “breaking story.” The sheer volume of information alone can overwhelm us to the point of either despair over the state of the world or desensitizing us to the needs of those who are vulnerable or victims.

As Christians, we’re called to be people of compassion who love our neighbors. The story of the Good Samaritan reminds us that everyone is our neighbor, and there are no exceptions; everyone means everyone. Scripture tells us that whenever Jesus was moved with compassion, it always resulted in Him acting on another’s behalf.

For Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR), disaster response is our specialty. It’s our prayer as responders to reflect the heart of Jesus. Our compassion motivates us to come alongside and assist people who have been impacted by tragedy and natural disasters.

At present, seeing firsthand the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we’re reminded today, on the anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, that while restoration and healing take time, a significant part of that process is spurred on by the compassion of others.

The truth is, compassion, while rewarding, can also be exhausting! It’s easy for our hearts to grow weary of the images we see or what seems like ongoing repetition of the same stories on the news. If we’ve been actively involved in responding, we can wear out or, worse, burnout. In crisis, there’s often an immediate response that is fueled by adrenaline and hope. What happens when the crisis is averted, but the challenges drag on, the needs continue to grow, and many of the immediate responders have gone home?

Victims of disasters such as Hurricane Harvey are only at the beginning of what will take years to restore and rebuild. Crisis responders may have come and gone long before victims have even begun to reestablish a new sense of normal. How can we keep our hearts engaged when the disaster of the day has become yesterday’s news?

We can start by praying for a well of compassion in our own hearts that will never run dry. And when cameras are no longer focused on the people of Texas, we can find our focus.

Stay engaged, informed and involved by continuing to pray, give or go. FDR can help. Check here for up-to-date news and information on how you can stay involved. Take care of yourself so you’ll be well equipped to care for and respond to the needs of others. Ask God to keep your heart soft and attentive to ongoing needs. Then, as He moves you with compassion, act in response to His leading.

Ephesians 2:10 says that God has prepared good works for all of us. While each of us individually can’t meet every need, together we can meet some, and every need counts because every one matters.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for a heart of compassion.
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to make you attentive to people and their needs.
  • Pray for the Lord’s leading, and then respond to His direction.

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.

is the international response director of Foursquare Disaster Relief.