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God’s Arms Outstretched

By Cathy Irvin
Staff Writer - On a daily basis I respond to e-mails, and many of them have come in from people wanting to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Folks in Ohio, Florida, Tennessee, and Baton Rouge are offering to give hurricane refugees a place to stay in their homes if those storm victims wish to relocate.

Here is what one person e-mailed recently:

“I cannot afford to give any money. I hardly make it from one day to the next myself. However, I do own some property here in East Tennessee and would be willing to let a family put a mobile home or camper. I have a site ready with a septic system, electric, and water there. Your show today has given me hope that there is someone out there who cares. Thank you for the hope. I wish I could do more.”

Fresh hope! That’s a word they need to hear.

He puts poor people on their feet again; he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope, restoring dignity and respect to their lives -- a place in the sun! For the very structures of earth are God’s; he has laid out his operations on a firm foundation (1 Samuel 2:8, The Message).

Concerned people want to help rebuild the city of New Orleans, give money, or send supplies. They contact Operation Blessing to volunteer in some way. I can only say God bless them.

When a whole city lies beneath the water, it will be more than a few weeks or months before these people can return. They must rebuild their lives, and they have only the clothes on their backs. Those who suffer have no water, no food, no cars, and no homes. And these are our neighbors in our own back yard.

I have a friend who has a lot of family in those areas that were hit by Katrina. She has heard from some of them who have lost everything, but one cousin is still missing. I can’t imagine. Let us pray!

I pray they can be relocated, and I know God will make a way. Perhaps they will return to their cities of residence one day, but in the meantime there are helping hands across America. It thrills me to hear this good news. I thank God for Operation Blessing and The Salvation Army and other organizations that are going in to help with the relief effort. Several foreign countries, such as Sri Lanka, have come alongside to help as well. We are also grateful for them.

When I heard Houston's mayor on TV say that he wanted to give these people some quality of life so he had to limit the Astrodome to 25,000 people, I was so proud of him. They already had been putting people up in various places all around the city. What a friendly environment! Of course, God in His sovereignty knew the Astrodome would be used for such a time as this.

We see in this tragic situation that God is moving on the hearts of people when the trials of life come this furiously. People are coming out of their comfort zones, either going there or asking hurricane victims to come into their humble abodes to share their lives with them. This is God at work. He makes a way where there seems to be no way.

If you don’t see God, look again into the faces of those with outstretched arms!

Be brave. Be strong. Don't give up. Expect GOD to get here soon (Psalm 31:24, The Message).

For the oppressed will not always be forgotten; the hope of the afflicted will not perish forever (Psalm 9:18, The Message).

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