By Michael E. Brooks
“For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack – that there may be equality” (2 Corinthians 8:13-14).
It was a unique experience last week to be in Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest, most frequently storm-ravaged countries, watching the news and anxiously waiting word from the U.S. regarding death and devastation from tornadoes there.
We are much more accustomed to praying for storm victims in Bangladesh, and to seeking funds and relief from suffering for those on “this side of the pond.”
But not this time. News continued to come of more and more tornadoes, more homes destroyed and towns ravaged, more deaths and injuries in our home state of Alabama. Prayers were raised desperately. We longed for news, and agonized at the helpless feeling of being able to do nothing for all the victims.
Such experiences remind us that we are all frail humans, and all are subject to the same problems and trials. No country, regardless of its development, prosperity and technology escapes the perils of storms, earthquakes or other disasters.
No nation, regardless of poverty and ignorance, but that God can send it abundance of harvest and great blessings.
In these regards, as in so much else, we are all equals. God has never given all good things to one people and denied them to others. It rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). God shows no partiality (Romans 2:11).
With regard to spiritual needs and salvation, he “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). There is no special arrangement for some people while others are left out or held to a stricter standard. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Paul taught, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13a). The storms in Alabama and neighboring states are not the first, or greatest, to strike the earth. Others have suffered and will continue to suffer in the same manner.
But God provides comfort and help. “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13b).
We share storms, sickness, temptation, and spiritual crises with all other humans on the earth. But we are encouraged by the example of others who have withstood their difficulties, trusted in God, and prevailed.
Let us continue to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). There will also be times of blessing.
By Michael E. Brooks