I've been following the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs since this past weekend, mostly due to my connection with The Navigators, the Christian organization that I formerly worked for. Between the organization itself and individuals who work for Navs, many buildings that I am connected to are at risk or have burned--homes, camps, offices, and Glen Eyrie (a historic castle that is now The Navigators conference and retreat center).
|The Navigators properties are pinned as Eagle Lake, Glen Eyrie, and HQ. See the original file on Facebook with photos of the fire's borders on previous days in the same album.|
Not only is my heart broken for the loss and threatened loss of these properties--properties in which I have slept, prayed, and played lots of games with dear friends--but the thought of seeing the beautiful scenery of Colorado Springs charred by these fires for decades to come is almost too difficult to fathom. I cannot imagine Colorado Springs without its beautiful western panorama.
And while my thoughts on the matter are still largely undeveloped, I've been thinking a lot about how Evangelicals might respond differently to natural disasters now that one has hit them at home.
As many Christians know, Colorado Springs is jokingly called the Mecca of Evangelicals because of the numerous Christian organizations headquartered there. Speaking in generalities, Christians have often mishandled responding to natural disasters elsewhere (hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, you name it), instantly jumping to explanations involving the judgment of God.
This has never sat well with me, theologically or psychologically. To claim that God has directly caused every act of nature simply seems to ignore the fallen state of nature within creation. (And there is a big difference between God causing and God allowing tragedy. If you don't think there is, ask yourself if God caused Adam and Eve to sin or if He allowed it. The answer has huge ramifications.) Now that a natural disaster is hitting a city of prayer, service, and mission, I think Christians will have some big questions to ask about how we respond to natural disasters elsewhere, both theologically and practically.
But, these questions are for later, for the months and years following this disaster. I do predict they will emerge, but I don't think they will do so immediately. My friends in the Springs speak only of being numb, shocked, and unable to think beyond one day at a time. Rebuilding will take years; regrowth will take decades.
Can we all join in prayer for Colorado? Can we earnestly ask that God would intervene, bringing rain, calming winds, and preserving properties? He doesn't have to, but we can beg that He will.